Niagara jump survivor dies after repeat stunt


June 17th, 2017 10:29 PM

Kirk Jones poses for a photo at Terrapin Point on the American side of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls State Park, New York, in this August 13, 2004 photo. (AP)

A man who occupied a fleeting spotlight after surviving a plunge over Niagara Falls without protection in 2003 has died after he went over again, this time during an apparent stunt with an inflatable ball, park police said Friday.

The body of 53-year-old Kirk R. Jones was pulled out of the water June 2 in Youngstown, where the Niagara River feeds into Lake Ontario.

The empty ball had been found earlier in the rapids above the American Falls, one of three falls known collectively as Niagara Falls.

New York state park police said they believe Jones was in Niagara Falls on April 19 and may have tried to go over the falls in the large ball.

“The attempted stunt was unsuccessful, which resulted in the demise of Mr. Jones,” the park police said in a news release.

Although such stunts are illegal, several daredevils have survived trips in various contraptions, beginning with Annie Edison Taylor, who rode over in an oak barrel in 1901.

Investigators did not return calls seeking further detail about what happened to Jones.

Jones, at the time an unemployed salesman from Canton, Michigan, gained celebrity in October 2003, when he became the first person known to survive the 180-foot plunge over Niagara Falls without a safety device. In 1960, seven-year-old Roger Woodward was swept over the falls wearing a life jacket and survived.

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