A man who climbed over a retaining wall and leaped into the Horseshoe Falls in Ontario, Canada, earlier today is at an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.
“He was obviously suffering,” said Sgt. Chris Gallagher of the Niagara Parks Police. “He had a large gash on the back of his head. He had other injuries to his ribs. Mostly it was hypothermia, a little bit of shock. Wasn’t able to speak very well. Our main thing was to get him stabilized and get him some medical assistance as soon as possible. That’s why we called in the air. As soon as we could get him uptop we could at least fly him to a medical facility.”
Witnesses — many of whom were out celebrating Victoria Day, a Canadian holiday — told the Niagara Parks Police Service that they saw the man, believed to be in his mid-30s, climb high above the Canadian side of the falls and jump.
He later appeared in the lower Niagara River basin near the Journey Behind the Falls observation deck.
The man reportedly was found by park police before he collapsed. He was lifted out of the falls by a crane and then taken to a Hamilton-area hospital with life-threatening injuries.
“It is a very difficult slope from the location he was at to the base of the falls. It is very difficult to traverse, so we used the aerial ladders to bring him up,” said Lt. Chief Dan Orescanin of the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Fire Department. “We sent seven firefighters over. Six of them went down and one of them went down with the basket.”
The Niagara Falls Review said the unidentified man’s leap was the fourth time a person had survived a jump over the falls without a barrel.