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The Deadly Beauty of the American Falls: Exploring Why Daredevils Stay Away

The American Falls, the second largest of the three waterfalls that together are known as Niagara Falls, is widely celebrated for its beauty and power. However, the Falls are more than just an enchanting spectacle of nature; they are notoriously dangerous. This dangerous aspect has led many to the question – why do daredevils stay away from the American Falls?

Niagara Falls American Falls Daredevil attempt

A significant factor contributing to its perilous nature is the staggering volume of water cascading down every second. The flow of water, about 150,000 gallons per second, generates a potent current that would be hazardous for any potential daredevil. Additionally, the intense mist and wind created by the falling water make visibility and stability a serious concern. The extremely rugged terrain and the number of jagged rocks at the base further exacerbate these hazards.


One particular feature making the American Falls even more dangerous is the substantial talus pile (a slope formed by accumulation of rock debris) at the base of the falls. Over the years, fallen rocks have created a significant mound, meaning any leap over the Falls wouldn't land in the deep water as with the Horseshoe Falls, but onto a heap of jagged, broken rocks. This geological phenomenon dramatically increases the risk and diminishes the chance of survival.


Because of these dangers, there have been fewer daredevil attempts at the American Falls compared to the more renowned Horseshoe Falls. In fact, such endeavors are illegal and carry hefty fines and potential jail time, providing further deterrents.


In documented history, no one has survived the plunge (intentionally or otherwise) over the American Falls and there has only been one daredevil bold enough to make the attempt.


Kirk Jones, who had previously survived going over the Horseshoe Falls unprotected in 2003, attempted his American Falls stunt on April 19th, 2017, with an inflatable ball. The ball could be seen spinning along the rapids in the upper river before falling over the falls. Jones died in the attempt.


All said, the deadly combination of nature's force, geographical terrain, and strict law enforcement make American Falls a dangerously tantalizing spectacle rather than a daredevil's playground.

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