On July 9th, 1960, the life of 7-year-old Roger Woodward changed forever when he was swept over the Horseshoe Falls wearing only a lifejacket. The story of how he found himself at the brink of the world's most powerful waterfall is what nightmares are made of.
Roger and his sister, Deanne, rented a 12-foot aluminum fishing boat with a 7.5 horsepower motor being navigated by a guide on the Niagara River (more than a mile from Niagara Falls). The boat developed engine trouble, hit a shoal and flipped over resulting in all three being thrust into the river.
The three individuals were taken by the strong current - gaining speed as they got closer to Niagara Falls - and soon they found themselves in the upper rapids. Here, water speeds could be as fast as 40 MPH.
As the three raced toward the brink of the Horseshoe Falls, Roger's sister Deanne was fished out of the water by two men visiting Niagara Falls, CANADA, from New Jersey. They were able to pull her out of the water about 20 feet away from the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.
The guide went over the Horseshoe Falls and was killed instantly.
Sadly, there was no assistance for Roger who moved helplessly against the current until he went over the brink of the falls.
At the same time as Roger went over the falls a Maid of the Mist boat was making its turn when crew members spotted the bright orange life jacket. The captain and crew immediately jumped to action. The captain maneuvered the boat so crew could work on getting Roger from the starboard side and the crew started trying to throw a life preserver.
The first toss of a life preserver missed. The second toss was also off and missed. Fortunately, the third toss was close enough to Roger and he was able to reach it. The crew pulled him to safety.
Once on the Maid of the Mist, Roger struggled through tears to ask about his sister. He was taken to Greater Niagara General Hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
Although it started out as a nightmare, the story of 7-year-old Roger Woodward who survived the plunge over Niagara Falls is one of appreciation; for life, love and the selflessness of others.
FACT: Neither a stuntman or a daredevil, 7-year-old Roger Woodward is the only person to go over Niagara Falls not in a barrel and live.