How Many People Have Died at Niagara Falls?

January 27, 2024

Throughout the centuries, Niagara Falls has inspired people to do daring things. Performers crossed the gorge on tightropes and pulled stunts like carrying people on their shoulders. Other thrill seekers tried riding the falls in barrels and rubber balls, but not everyone survived.

In fact, around 40 people die at Niagara each year. Some are suicides while others are the victims of thrill seeking or other dangerous activities. The gruesome work of recovering bodies from the churning whirlpools beneath the falls can be exhausting and depressing. In one case, a mother dropped her two-month-old baby into the Falls. The woman was hysterical and argued that her baby had accidentally slipped from her arms.

The brown foam below the falls is the result of millions of tons of water crashing into the depths and causing friction. The water is also contaminated with sewage, sand and decaying vegetation. It takes an army of experts to sift through the mud and debris each year in order to clean the waters at Niagara.

The first person to attempt to go over the falls in a barrel was a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Taylor. She successfully made the trip in 1901. However, she was left severely injured from the experience. Another barrel stuntmer was Bobby Leach, a 58-year-old English barber who had previously performed high dives and parachuted from hot air balloons. He was warned not to try it again by fellow dare devil Charles Stephens, but he shrugged it off.

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