Do you have to be crazy to jump from the daunting precipice of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, one hundred eighty eight feet (57 meters) above the river basin below? Any normal person would say “yes” but many have made the plunge over the years. Since 1901, over twenty “daredevils” have taken the plunge and a good number of them have survived. Here’s our top five:
1901 – Annie Taylor: Annie Taylor was the first to go over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel. She was sixty-three years old at the time and a school teacher. She survived unharmed but never made the kind of money she was hoping to make from the leap, which was set up with that intent. Her manager was a con man and took her for every dime she had.
1911 – Bobby Leach: Bobby spent six months in the hospital after his July 25 barrel plunge. He survived, but died later in New Zealand after another fall. He slipped on an orange peel in the middle of the street. Strange but true.
1930 – George Stathakis and Sonny: Perhaps the most famous of all the Niagara Falls barrel plunges, George Stathakis went over the Horseshoe Falls with his 150 year old turtle “Sonny”. The turtle survived but George suffocated when his barrel, which had only eight hours of air, got pinned behind the falls for twenty-one hours.
1931 – William “Red” Hill: One year after Stathakis’ failed attempt, William “Red” Hill took George’s barrel and successfully went over Niagara Falls. Red knew the gorge better than anyone at the time. He had grown up there and recovered 177 bodies of accident and drowning victims during his time there.
1985 and 1993 – John David Munday: John David Munday is the only person to do the Niagara Falls barrel plunge twice successfully. He tried it several times during the eight year period between jumps but was stopped and fined by police on the other occasions.
Author, Tia Jones, is a freelance writer who contributes articles on Affordable Travel Tours for Tours 4 Fun. For more information on how Tours4Fun can help you plan a trip to your next travel destination visit http://www.tours4fun.com.
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