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At Niagara Falls, man goes over; in Washington state, boy hangs on

May 21, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Parks
Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Parks (Niagara Parks )

Two waterfalls, two miracle stories.

On Monday, a man suspected of trying to kill himself by leaping into Niagara Falls has survived -- although he has suffered life-threatening injuries.

Witnesses said they saw the man scale a retaining wall above Horseshoe Falls -- seen above -- at about 10:20 a.m. on Monday. They said they saw him "deliberately jump into the river waters," according to Niagara Parks Police Service.

The unidentified man surfaced in lower Niagara River basin. About two hours later, the Niagara Falls Fire Department rescued him from the rocky shoreline. He was taken by an air ambulance to a local hospital for treatment, and was said to have suffered life-threatening injuries. Additional details about his condition were not immediately available.

According to the Associated Press, the man is only the third known person in history to have survived going over the falls without a safety device. The leap sent the man plummeting about 180 feet into the water, the AP said.

In just a few weeks, the world's eyes will be trained on the very same area of Niagara Falls. That's when Nik Wallenda, a member of the famed Flying Wallendas, will traverse the Horseshoe Falls on a tightrope on June 15.

The Horseshoe Falls are 170 feet high and 2,200 feet wide in the area that Wallenda will tackle. Those particular falls are the largest -- and many say the most spectacular -- of the three cataracts that make up Niagara Falls.

Now for the second miracle story. A day earlier, a 13-year-old boy was saved from the edge of a 270-foot waterfall northeast of Seattle, Wash. The rescue made for dramatic video.

The boy had been wading in a river when he lost his footing and was swept over a 10-foot waterfall. He managed to pull himself onto a narrow rock shelf before being swept over a second waterfall. And there he waited, nearly nine hours, until rescuers could get to him, according to the Associated Press.

If that video doesn't make you want to take extra safety precautions when near a waterfall, nothing will.

rene.lynch@latimes.com

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