When he went over Niagara Falls in October 2003, Kirk Jones claimed it was a daredevil act but admitted later he was trying to kill himself.
Wearing just the clothes he had on, he went over without any protection, becoming the first person to do so and survive.
Jones vowed then never to do it again, saying, “I understand what I did was wrong. You’ll never see an action in Niagara waters with my name written on it again.”
But Jones, who had been fined nearly $3,000 and banned for life from Canada, tried it again, possibly trying a different method, and died doing so, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Jones’s body was discovered on June 2 in the Niagara River 12 miles from the falls, and Det. Sgt Brian Nisbet of the New York State Park Police identified the victim as the survivor of 2003.
Nisbet told the Post-Standard that Jones “may have been attempting a stunt by going over Niagara Falls in a large inflatable ball.”
A 10-foot ball, one that could hold somebody inside, was discovered spinning in the rapids above the falls and after it went over the Maid of Mist tour boat recovered it. The ball was unmanned.
Might he have been attempting to get inside and the stunt went awry? It is merely conjecture.
When Kirk went over the 180-foot drop the first time, he suffered broken ribs and a bruised spine. From the Post-Standard:
Jones appeared on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” a week afterward and described going feet-first over the falls, staring into a sunny sky. He heard people screaming that there was a man in the water, he said. He felt the river moving fast toward the falls, with the sound of the rushing water getting louder.
“I felt like and heard a suction — a suction that, like a large vacuum cleaner, you suck up an insect on the counter,” Jones said in the interview. “And I was actually sucked inside, immediately, inside the curtain of the falls. Inside it. And enveloped in it, actually.”
He recalled spiraling as he fell at a tremendous speed. He felt an “unbelievable” pressure on his head, he said in the TV interview.
Jones recalled feeling pain when he crashed into a granite table at the bottom of the falls, then blacking out temporarily. When he came to underwater, he swam up to the surface and took his first breath, he said.
The BBC reported that Jones was living in Canton, Michigan, at the time of the first stunt, but his most recent address was Spring Hill, Florida.
Three people have survived going over the falls without protection since Jones first did it, the Post-Standard reported.
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