Niagara Gazette

Crime

March 6, 2014

Students from Michigan arrested for venturing onto dangerous ice at Terrapin Point

Neither fences, nor caution tape, nor the threat of plunging over the falls was enough to deter five Michigan college students from climbing out on an icy ledge at Terrapin Point on Thursday.

It was the second straight day that New York State Park Police had to respond to a potentially deadly attempt to view the falls.

"We had (State Parks) operations people come out and put up extra fencing and extra (caution) tape after what happened Wednesday," Park Police Lt. Patrick Moriarty said. "But then (Thursday) we had five college students from Michigan out on the ice on Terrapin Point."

Portions of Terrapin Point, closest to the falls, have been closed to the public because of dangerous conditions created by heavy snow and thick ice. Moriarty said the Michigan students ignored police warnings about the danger.

"They either had to climb the fence (around the danger zone) or climb up the glacier (that has formed on the point) and walk over the (caution) tape," Moriarty said. "Now as a result of this. I've station an officer in a patrol car because I can't take the chance of someone getting on the ice and going (into the falls)."

The students were identified as Xingjian Lai, 20, David Gao, 20, Kuna Wu, 22, Yang Di Zhuo, 21, and Singh Kiet Kong, 21, all from Michigan. They were all charged with criminal trespass and released on bail.

"They told the officers who arrested them that they wanted to get a good picture of the falls," Moriarty said.

The Park Police lieutenant, a veteran of numerous dangerous rescues at the brink of the falls, expressed frustration with the reckless behavior he's seen in the last few days.

"It is frustrating," Moriarty said. "I think a lot of it has to do with reports in the national media that the falls is frozen over. and more people coming to see it. We're seeing a lot more people in the park (this winter) and we're hearing them talking about the falls being frozen."

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