Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tragic Falls in Hamilton's 'City of Waterfalls' ~ Part 2

Further to the foregoing in Part 1, Matthew Van Dongen continues
about Waterfall Safety.

“ The city-built stairs leading down toward the base of Albion Falls look inviting ~ which makes the city-posted warning signs all the more incongruous. Danger keep out, steep drop, screams a sign beside the concrete steps in red capital letters. Use at own risk, warns another. The biggest sign spells it out ~ further: The city does not maintain this stairway and does not recommend its use.
Yet, hundreds of visitors walk the stairs every sunny summer weekend
on the way to a series of unsigned and unofficial trails
leading down 18 metres to the base of one of the city's most popular waterfalls.
“The city officially urges visitors to enjoy Albion Falls from two designated viewing platforms and to stick to 'marked trails,' mostly those following the rim of the gorge,” said Parks Manager, Kara Bunn.

The 22-year-old man who was badly hurt last February after slipping on an icy patch and sliding into the gorge said, “In my opinion, the city put the stairs there...
they should either take care of it or get rid of it.”

Being the proud Canadian I am, living in the scenic environment
of the Niagara Escarpment, I address the foregoing issues:
Why, Again and Again, Do People Ignore the Risk of Disaster or Minor Crimes?
At a potential major earthquake warning, several people and families refused to leave ~ they simply boarded up their windows and doors, ignoring the warning, believing they could outlive the storm. Then, due to excessive water, more and more rain and violent strong winds, they needed to be rescued.

When the road is clear with an open lane ahead, dare-devils speed for the fun of it, regardless of posted speed limits, They risk not being caught and enthrall in the thrill of passing in-and-out of busy lanes.

When in need of something...and unwilling to pay...a person risks thievery...and when he/she succeeds, exclaims...”AH! Success!” and continues to do it again and again...simply for the thrill of it!

A Possible Solution (?)
The Horseshoe Falls at Niagara is the most powerful waterfall in North America!
A man, who recently went over these falls with only the clothing on his back and survived, will be charged with 'illegally performing a stunt,' Park police stated. Another man, Kirk Jones (40) of Canton, Michigan, is the first person to have plunged over the Horseshoe Falls without safety harness devices and lived. He could be charged $10,000! It is now a crime to the 'stunting without a licence' and the fine is currently at $10,000. However, this has not prevented people from trying.
An unsanctioned stunt at Niagara Falls can result in a fine up to $10,000.

You may ask about Nik Wallenda, an American acrobat, aerialist and dare-devil who was the first person to walk a tight-rope directly over the Horseshoe Falls on June 15, 2012. After a 2-year battle that involved both sides of the Canada-United States border to gain the approval, Wallenden crossed the Horseshoe Falls one foggy evening, battling the massive spray...on a live ABC Special, watched by millions around the world. For the walk, he was required to wear a safety harness for the first time in his life! Winds are very tricky in and around this section of the Niagara River's two waterfalls and the fast-flowing river rapids.
May I suggest to the “Powers-that-be” they consider a regulation
to more tightly control our waterfall dare-devils who consistently ignore
the danger signs to fulfill their personal ambition?
Dare-devils Revel in the Risk!
A fine should be levied should any risk their adventure without permission!
And place a Sign Warning with this message at all waterfall sites!

If you're gonna dine with the cannibals,
sooner or later, you're gonna get eaten!
(Nick Cass)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written June 15, 2017

ADDENDUM to the foregoing!

Daredevil Hangs by Teeth from Chopper over Falls...performed Thursday morning, June 15, 2017
A trapeze artist, carried by a helicopter, stunned people on both sides of the Canada-United States border...craning their necks to catch a glimpse of Erendira Vasquez Wallenda perform a series of movements on a hoop suspended from the chopper...including hanging from her knees and toes...and twice by her teeth. Wallenda (36) performed her feat five years after her stunt-man husband, Nik Wallenda, walked 550 metres on a tightrope from the American side of the falls to the Canadian side.

Tethered to a safety harness as legally required, Erendira said the wind above the falls was far more fierce than she had expected, prompting the pilot to nose the chopper a little higher. As someone who has performed since she was 5 years old, she said she was not nervous. “If a guy can do it, a girl can do it too,” she said. “We just do it with a little more grace.” Wallenda spent about 8 minutes of her 10 minute stunt hovering over the falls. “The falls, that have attracted and inspired daredevils for generations, has a certain mystical pull...there's something almost magical that draws you to it.”

From the Joy and Thrill...to Another Tragedy: On August 13, 2004, Kirk Jones, as mentioned above, stood at Terrapin Point on the American side of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls State Park, New York, prior to his plunge over the Horseshoe Falls without protection...and has now died (June 2, 2017), after he has gone over again. Police stated that the 53-year-old was found in the Niagara River by the US Coast Guard near Youngstown, New York, where the Niagara River feeds into Lake Ontario. It is thought he had plunged over the American Falls...in a 3-metre ball.
Investigators believe Jones had attempted on April 19, 2007 to go over the falls
inside a 3-metre ball. (The empty ball was recovered by the Maid of the Mist Tour Boat.)

Resulting from his previous escapade in 2004, a Canadian court fined Jones $2,260 and banned him from the park for a year. After his court appearance, he said, “Depression had led me to climb down an embankment and float feet-first over the Horseshoe Falls, but all my problems were left at the bottom of the gorge.” He descibed the water like an ice-bath and “the pressure was so great, I thought it would rip the head from my body”
Terrapin Point (formerly Terrapin Rocks) is an observation area
at the north-western corner of Goat Island, next to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
It was off Terrapin Point that Nik Wallenda began his historic highwire walk
across Canada's Horseshoe Falls.


  1. Sherrie comments: "I like this writing of yours...
    and I like the proposed 'fine' that would be given to all those who dare! As they are also putting us at risk."

  2. My son writes: "Natural hazards exist to remove idiots from the gene pool!"