Canadian survives plunge down Niagara Falls

March 12th, 2009 - 11:56 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 12 (IANS) A Canadian man survived a plunge down the world famous Niagara Falls Tuesday. This is the second time in history that anyone taking an unprotected plunge down the 173-metre-deep falls has survived.
Six years ago, an American named Kirk Jones had created history by becoming the first person to survive after taking an unassisted plunge down the Niagara Falls.

An unnamed man in his 30s joined him Tuesday when he survived the plunge down Horseshoe Falls, which is the more famous and Canadian part of Niagara Falls.

Visitors were shocked when suddenly a little after 2 p.m. they saw a man rolling in the rapids of the Niagara river just before the falls. Then he went down - 56 metre with the waters and then 120 metre into the Niagara Falls base - to pop up some time later in the river below. With his clothes torn off during the plunge, the man tried to swim to safety in frigid cold waters.

An eyewitness told Canada’s CTV: “I was on the very edge of the Canadian side, and he was right next to shore, like a metre away from it, and he just went overboard. He wasn’t resisting it at all.”

Another Canadian witness who managed to take some pictures of the struggling man said: “He was swimming and he kept swimming away from shore, so it looked like he was either being a daredevil or there was some other problem.”

Police and fire brigade teams swung into action to lift the man out of the waters.

The man, who reportedly suffered head injuries, was finally lifted out of water 45 minutes later and rushed to the Greater Niagara Hospital.

Niagara Falls fire department chief said: “We are amazed he stayed up as long as he did.”

If he survives, he faces charges as it is illegal in Canada - and the US - to plunge into the falls.

A 62-year-old Michigan woman teacher Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to survive when she undertook a plunge down the falls in a wooden barrel in October 1901.

Since then, many people have tried protected and unprotected plunge down Niagara Falls and perished.

But in October 2003, an unemployed Michigan man Kirk Jones survived an unprotected plunge.

He was fined $3,000 and also ordered to pay $1,400 for rescue efforts to save him. For his daredevilry, he was hired by a Texas circus company to perform stunts.

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