The unidentified man, described as being “in crisis,” was seen climbing over a retaining wall surrounding Horseshoe Falls around 4 a.m. Tuesday before entering the water and plunging over the edge, Niagara Parks Police said.
A search of the water below later found him sitting on some rocks. He was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
The man’s identity has not been released and it’s not clear whether he was wearing any kind of safety protection.
Surviving such a fall is extremely rare, with only a handful of people known to have survived it without any protection.
The first person known to have survived such a fall was Kirk Jones in an apparent suicide attempt in 2003. Four years later Jones attempted the jump again ― this time in an apparent stunt in which he may have been inside an inflatable ball ― and died.
At least two other people who have since plunged over the edge without a safety device have survived, according to The Associated Press.
The Buffalo News reported that high water levels may have contributed to the latest man’s survival.
“I know firsthand the lake levels are at all-time high levels. When Lake Erie is higher and flowing more robustly to Lake Ontario, there is a better chance of missing the massive boulders under the Horseshoe Falls,” Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, told the paper. “The only way you would ever have a chance to survive that kind of a fall was to overshoot the large rocks below.”
Each year an estimated 25 people end their lives by going over the falls, The Buffalo News reported.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.