How Do You Survive a Niagara Falls Plunge?

Release Date: March 12, 2009 This content is archived.


According to University at Buffalo researcher David Pendergast, people who go over Niagara Falls can get sucked underwater by the current and drown very quickly. "In some cases, people's bodies do not resurface for several days," he said. He added that water speeds in the Niagara River near the Peace Bridge average around 11 miles per hour but that speeds increase significantly as the river narrows. "There can be tremendously different speeds depending on the depth of the water and the width of the river," he said. As for the gentleman's ability to survive yesterday's plunge over the Falls: "It can just be a matter of luck as to precisely where the body falls," he said.

Pendergast is a professor of physiology and biophysics and director of UB's Center for Research and Education in Special Environments. He can be reached at 716-829-3830

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