Further Niagara Daredevils

I.H. Ashley

On May 3rd 1890, I.H. Ashley of Chicago lowered himself from the Upper Suspension Bridge into a small boat waiting in the Niagara River below.


Captain Billy Johnson

On July 4th 1901, Captain Billy Johnson jumped into the Niagara River from the deck of the Maid of the Mist boat just below the Horseshoe Falls and swam down river.


Joe Chambers

On August 2nd 1901, Joe Chambers swam the Lower Rapids, between the Whirlpool and Queenston – Lewiston.  Chambers, wearing a life buoy, arrived safely at the dock in Lewiston, New York.


Peter Langaard

On October 24th 1911, Peter Langaard successfully navigated the Whirlpool in a boat. Langaard’s boat struck a piece of driftwood while circling the Whirlpool losing the propeller from his boat motor.

Without power, Langaard was stranded in the Whirlpool for four hours and twenty minutes before being rescued.


Vincent Taylor

On September 5th 1927, Vincent Taylor, an Australian daredevil, made a parachute jump from the Upper Steel Arch Bridge.


Ted Mercier, Joseph Hawryluk, Graham Scott

On August 18th 1954, teenagers, Ted Mercier, Joseph Hawryluk and Graham Scott swam across the Niagara River from the Canadian shore near Seneca Street to the American shore approximately 400 yards (the length of 4 football fields) downstream. The river current had carried the youths this lengthy distance from their starting point.


Claus R. Kirkoff

On October 1st 1957, Claus R. Kirkoff successfully swam through the Lower Rapids in an attempt to gain illegal entry into the United States of American, from which he had been previously deported.


Karl Heinz Koch

During the summer of 1964, Karl Heinz Koch was arrested by police for swimming in the Niagara River approximately 200 yards downstream of the American Falls.

At the time of his arrest, Koch said "I was hot and I didn’t see any sign saying no swimming, so I took a little dip".


Bruce Curtis, Ronald Hess

On July 14th 1969, Bruce Curtis and his friend Ronald Hess survived a ride through the Lower Rapids riding on a 1.7 metre diameter tractor inner tube.


John Kazian

On September 2nd 1971, John Kazian stood on the wing of a single engine stunt plane piloted over Niagara Falls by Joe Hughes. During this aerial exhibition, Kazian performed several other tricks as well.


Edward A. Friedland

On June 28th 1974, Edward Friedland rode a rubber dinghy through the Whirlpool Rapids into the Whirlpool. Once in the Whirlpool, Friedland became stranded. A sightseeing helicopter made a dramatic flight into the Whirlpool Gorge to rescue Friedland.


Jim Sarten

Jim Sarten was a professional stuntman working for Playboy Productions during the filming of an ABC made for T.V. movie "The Mighty Niagara". As part of the production, the film company made a raft made from a few planks and empty oil drums with the intention of floating it through the Whirlpool Rapids. Permission had been received from both Governments with the understanding that a dummy would be sent on the raft rather than a human.

On July 4th 1975, as this stunt began, Jim Sarten took the place of the dummy and rode the raft through the Whirlpool Rapids to the Whirlpool. Sarten was rescued from the Whirlpool nearly dead. He had to be revived and rushed to hospital.

Playboy Productions was fined $75 for allowing a stunt to be performed contrary to the Niagara Parks Act.


Niagara Gorge River Trips Inc.

In 1975, Niagara Gorge River Trips Inc. began operation of a white water rafting business through the Whirlpool Rapids. The raft utilized was a prototype rubber raft made by the Zodiac Company of France.

On August 29th 1975, during the eleventh trial run through the Whirlpool Rapids, with 29 passengers aboard and a crew of four, the rubber raft capsized in the Whirlpool Rapids.

Three of the passengers died of drowning and miraculously 30 people survived after a very heroic rescue by members of the various emergency services in both countries.


Mr. X

On February 7th 1975, an unidentified man (Mr. X) working for a Toronto film company was dangled over the brink of the Horseshoe Falls at the Table Rock by a crane for five minutes while strapped into a strait jacket.

This stunt was performed for a television program and permission to conduct this stunt was received from the Niagara Parks Commission.


Kenneth W. Lagergren & Charles

On October 30th 1977, Kenneth Lagergren and a friend known only as Charles rode together in a kayak through the Whirlpool Rapids. Both survived the journey. Lagergren was arrested by the Niagara Parks Police while his friend escaped apprehension.


Kenneth W. Lagergren, Chris Spelius, Don Wheedon, Carrie Ashton

On October 14th 1981, professionals, Kenneth Lagergren, Chris Spelius, Don Wheedon and Carrie Ashton rode through the Whirlpool Rapids in kayaks in conjunction with the ABC – TV program "The American Sportsman". All survived unharmed despite that one kayak tipped over for twenty seconds before being righted.

The Niagara Parks Commission permitted this exhibition because it was considered a sport.

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