Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 12, 2009

FALLS PLUNGE: Man rescued after surviving jump over Horseshoe

Firefighters have to be ready for anything, but a polar-bear dip into the icy water at the base of Niagara Falls is a unique challenge.

“That’s my first ice-water rescue — outside of training,” said Todd Brunning, the 34-year-old firefighter who jumped into the Niagara River and swam out to save a man who witnesses said went over the Horseshoe Falls and lived.

After surviving the 170-foot plunge over the Horseshoe Falls, the unidentified man swam in the icy water of the Niagara River for about 30 minutes while rescuers raced against the clock to get him out.

“If it had gone on a couple minutes more, he would have sunk beneath the water,” said Niagara Parks Police Sgt. Chris Gallagher.

It wasn’t clear whether it was a stunt or a suicide attempt.

Police, firefighters, paramedics and a private helicopter pilot worked for about 45 minutes to save the man who went into the water above the falls but stayed afloat in the lower river. He clung to a log at times, and was swimming in the near-freezing water while rescuers prepared on shore.

He was listed in critical condition Wednesday night. He was transferred to Hamilton General Hospital, after having initially been taken to Greater Niagara General Hospital. He was treated for hypothermia and head trauma.

Niagara Parks Police were called to the river at 2:11 p.m., after a tourist saw a man climb over the wall south of Table Rock House. Police believe him to be in his late 30s but don’t know much about him because he was naked and semi-conscious when he was rescued.

Police said the man was dressed when he went into the water, but the force of the rushing water could strip the clothes off someone.

“He voluntarily entered the water and refused assistance at the bottom. Whatever conclusion you want to draw from that,” parks police Chief Doug Kane said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results