Nathan T. Boya

On July 15th 1961, Nathan T. Boya, age 30, was a black man from the Bronx in New York. He challenged the mighty Falls unannounced and emerged virtually unscathed. Boya claimed the trip was for personal reasons, as opposed to the fame and fortune that other sought.

The craft the Nathan Boya had built was a sphere shaped frame made of steel construction, roughly183 cm in diameter. A layered cover was over the frame, consisting of rubber followed by sheet metal and then another layer of rubber. The 544 kg ball was nicknamed "Plunge-O-Sphere". The weight of 544 kg included Boya’s own weight.

Learning from previous flaws, Boya installed an oxygen system that was capable of providing air for thirty hours as well as a re-breather. A re-breather is a device which converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. Inside the sphere Boya carried a banner which read “Plunge-O-Sphere, Step from your PIT OF DARKNESS into the light – Dell".

Boya launched his craft from an unnamed location along the American Shoreline. It seemed that the sphere was dragged into Canadian waters. If this hadn’t occurred it was believed that the sphere would have gone over the American Falls instead of the Horseshoe Falls.

Boya claimed to have been in the water a good length of time before reaching the upper rapids. He also stated that upon entering the rapids the sphere felt like it dropped fifty feet. Boya’s sphere went over the Horseshoe Falls, closer to the American shore. Boya said he didn’t feel the drop over the Falls. He only felt the sphere bounce off a rock at the bottom, which caused a large dent to the outer skin of the ball.

Boya was pawing at the hatch to close it when the "Little Sister" boat came along side of the sphere. A police officer on the boat arrested Boya for his journey because it was done without the permission of the Niagara Parks Commission. Boya was subsequently fined $100 plus $13 court costs in Niagara Falls Ontario Provincial Court.

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