Less than a month before a professional high-wire performer will walk a tight rope above Niagara Falls, a man miraculously survived a plunge over the cascading natural wonder in a failed suicide attempt.
According to reports, emergency workers rescued the man from waist-deep water down the river from the falls, yesterday after he climbed over a railing near the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, jumped into the water and was swept away and over the falls. A current dragged him to shore after the 180 foot drop.
The man suffered gashes to his head, broken ribs and a collapsed lung, but is only the third person in history to survive a plunge over Niagara Falls without any equipment or devices. However, that doesn’t appear to be his intention, as officials said the man likely deliberately jumped into the water in an attempt to take his own life.
Niagara Falls has frequently been the sites of suicides throughout history with a reported 2,780 people committing suicide at the falls between 1856 and 1995.
It is also a popular attraction for daredevils hoping to defy the odds. High-wire performer Nik Wallenda will be the latest person to perform a stunt at Niagara Falls when he walks a tight rope above them on June 15.
Wallenda, 33, is a seventh-generation member of the famed “Flying Wallendas” family of circus performers. He plans to cross a 2-inch cable suspended 1,800 feet across Niagara Falls gorge. He will be the first performance artist to attempt this feat between the United States and Canada in more than 100 years. However, his stunt will have a safety net, or, rather, a harness — ABC network, a financial backer of the tight-rope walk, reportedly demanded that Wallenda wear a harness for the televised event.
Wallenda was likely training for the walk when the man who attempted suicide was rescued after going over the falls. Wallenda said earlier this month he would be practicing publicly from May 12 to 22, in a parking lot less than a mile from the gorge.