This is the incredible rescue of a man standing on the edge of Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, the collective name for three waterfalls between Ontario and New York, are certainly not the biggest waterfalls in the world. There are, without doubt, larger falls with much stronger currents. But the site has still always attracted both the daring and the desperate.
According to police estimates, there is, on average, one suicide a month at the falls. For every successful suicide attempt, police argue many would have had second thoughts, however, because of the extremity of conditions, few get the chance to turn back.
In the case of one 48-year-old accountant, he did get another chance at life despite being moments away from imminent death. The water was just above freezing and he was only one meter from what could have been a fatal 53 m drop.
Watch the inspiring footage of his rescue:
But what had pushed this man quite literally to the brink? Well, he had a huge gambling problem and that day, according to investigators, he had lost a large sum of money in Seneca Nation Casino which had just opened on the US side of the falls. To make matters worse, he was already more than $600,000 in debt to Casino Niagara on the Canadian side.
"God was with us in the water that day," said firefighter Gary Carella, one of the men who braved the bone-chilling water to save the man. After two excruciating hours, the man was pulled out of the water and rushed to the hospital where he was treated for hypothermia and shock.
An hour after he arrived, he sat up to talk to investigators. He told them he felt overwhelmed, anxious, and desperate after losing thousands of dollars borrowed from his father. Feeling totally hopeless, he went over to Terrapin Point, wrote a little note and crossed the ice into the falls.
He wasn't, however, prepared for how ice-cold the water would be, how powerful the current would be or how overwhelmed he would be for his sudden desire to live. He began to think of his family and the emotional turmoil his death would cause them. For that reason, when he felt a space in a rock as the rapids pulled him over, he jammed his feet in between and held on for dear life.
He felt both thankful for the rescuer's efforts and regretful. "I'm sorry," the man continued to say. "I don't know what in the world I would do if someone had lost their life for me."
Because he left a suicide note, the man was immediately placed in psychiatric care, and his name was not released by police. However, in the Niagara region, his identity is an open secret, he is known as the 48-year-old accountant with a gambling problem so out of control that he initially wanted to take his own life.
To this day, rescuers are in awe at how long he was able to endure the icy water. They have even started using amateur videotapes of his rescue in training sessions. No matter how many times rescuers watch and rewatch the video, there is something really "impossible" about the fact that the man managed to make it out of the water, back to safety.
Being pushed to the verge of suicide, he had clearly believed he was very unlucky, but in reality, he was one of the luckiest men on Earth. No one has ever been that near the edge of the falls without losing their lives. He and his family declined several requests for interviews but the story of the man on the edge of the Niagara Falls continues to be told.