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Idiot Man Survives Historic Plunge Over Niagara

The Evil Genius

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An unidentified man waits at the shoreline at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls after surviving a plunge over Niagara Falls, with only the clothes on his back to protect him, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Monday, Oct. 20, 2003. Witnesses described seeing the man float by in the swift Niagara River, go headfirst over the churning 180-foot waterfall and then pull himself out of the water onto rocks below.

Man Survives Historic Plunge Over Niagara

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario - A man survived a plunge over Niagara Falls with only the clothes on his back, witnesses said, the first person known to have done it without safety devices and lived.

Witnesses described seeing the man float past on his back Monday in the swift Niagara River, then go headfirst over the 180-foot waterfall and pull himself onto the rocks below. The man was hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday.

"He just looked calm. He just was gliding by so fast. I was in shock really that I saw a person go by," Brenda McMullen told WIVB-TV in Buffalo.

Officers would not release the man's name or comment on why he went over the falls. "It's still under investigation," Niagara Parks Police Inspector Paul Fortier said. He said the man is from Michigan. Police said there appeared to be no evidence of foul play.

Water rushes over the falls at a rate of 150,000 gallons per second.

"I saw him disappear over the edge of the falls," McMullen's husband, Terry McMullen, said. The tourists from Columbus, Ohio, snapped photographs showing the man dressed in street clothes, apparently lying on the shore at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

"The guy just basically jumped in the falls," said witness Diedre Love, of Largo, Md., who was at the falls with her husband to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. "I saw him go over. He didn't yell or anything."

Only one other person known to have survived a plunge over the Canadian falls without a barrel or other apparatus was a 7-year-old boy wearing a life preserver who was thrown into the water in a 1960 boating accident.

No one has ever survived a trip over the narrower and rockier American falls.

Since 1901, 15 daredevils have taken the plunge in barrels or other devices, including a kayak and a water jet-powered personal watercraft. Ten survived, said Niagara Falls historian Paul Gromosiak, who has written books on the subject.

Suicides are not uncommon at Niagara Falls, although police are reluctant to give numbers.

Gromosiak said he believes the man must have been attempting suicide, given the way he went over and the thin odds of survival.

If it was a stunt, the man could be fined $10,000.

Lynda Satelmajer, of Brampton, Ontario, said she and her family watched the man as he entered the river and then went over the falls.

"He seemed a bit edgy, kind of jumping around," she said. "He walked over to where we were standing and he jumped and slid down on his backside and went over the brink.

"It was really freaky, actually. He was smiling."

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He was on the today show today and he was very depressed and wanted to kill himself. Since he lived he now has a new lease on life and believes god saved him. A sad but I guess happy story in a way. To bad he will be fined 10K for trying so now he might be drepressed again.

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