Niagara Falls



An Interview With A Daredevil







Kirk Jones


On Monday October 20th 2003 at 12:45 p.m., Kirk Raymond Jones became the first human in recorded history to go over the Horseshoe Falls unaided and survive virtually unscathed. The most remarkable aspect was that he did so without any safety and/or flotation device.

The 40 year old, single and unemployed man from Canton Michigan (south of Detroit) came to the City of Niagara Falls on Saturday October 18th along with a his friend Bob Krueger of Garden City, Michigan. Both spend several nights at a local motel on Lundy's Lane before his actual stunt. In preparation , Jones had bought a used video camera. His plan was to have Krueger video record Jones' feat  for prosperity, historical and perhaps for financial reasons. Unfortunately Krueger didn't learn to properly operate the video camera before the event and did not capture any part of it on videotape.

Kirk Jones carried through with his plan of jumping into to upper Niagara River approximately 20 feet from the brink of the Horseshoe Falls at the Table Rock of the Niagara Parks Commission property along the Canadian shore. Jones, wearing only the clothes on his back, was quickly swept over the Falls (170 feet) to the plunge pool basin below.

Seconds later Kirk Jones emerged from the turbulent waters below and was able to pull himself to safety onto a rock a short distance away from the cataracts. Here he remained stranded until the arrival of emergency service personnel who rescued him from his precarious perch and transported him to the top of the gorge. Jones was transported to the Greater Niagara General Hospital suffering only minor rib injuries.

Kirk Jones was admitted to the psychiatric unit on an involuntary basis pending an assessment. Jones stated that his stunt wasn't a stunt at all but a failed attempt at suicide. Others close to Jones including family members contradict this view and have indicated that Kirk Jones had planned to go over the Falls as a stunt for the fame and fortune including gainful employment which he believed would follow.

The planning process was described as very unsophisticated and unscientific.

Whatever the motive, Kirk Raymond Jones has etched his name forever in the annals of Niagara Falls daredevil history.

Jones was subsequently arrested upon his release from hospital and charged with Mischief and Performing a Stunt with the Niagara Parks.

On December 18th 2003, Jones returned to court. He plead guilty to both charged and was fined $3,000 and in addition was ordered to reimburse the Niagara Parks - Journey Behind the Falls attraction $1,408 for the money they lost during the 45 minutes the attraction had closed to facilitate Jones rescue.

Jones has since been employed by the Toby Tyler Circus of Texas to perform as yet undefined stunts.



An Interview With A Daredevil - Kirk Jones



Interview with a Daredevil - Kirk JONES

This interview was conducted on October 22nd 2003 in Niagara Falls following his arrest. The following interview has been edited for brevity.



Jones:                       like Iíve heard so many things in the paper that I havenít said to anybody


Interviewer #1:             yeah


Jones:                       so I donít know what that means or what it doesnít mean


Interviewer #1:             yeah


Jones:                         but


Jones:                        um hm


Interviewer #1:           okay and basically I wanna give you an opportunity to give your explanation as to what happened and ah but with that being said it itís up to you


Jones:                       I I youíve been great people the the only thing is the only thing I wanna give you is a statement and um if you would like to write it down record on that video tape pur on your recorder whatever you wanna do Iíd like to give that statement and Iíd like to tell you like it is


Interviewer #1:             go right ahead


Jones:                       so you donít even have to do the shorthand like Interviewer #2 does then


Interviewer #2:             yeah


Jones:                         okay the shorthand is this 


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                       it was my desire my desire only to go to that to go to those falls that day not even the person I was with knew that I was going to try to end my life that day that I purposely thought and there would there and that there would be no doubt that when I went over those falls I would not be coming back history shows for itself thatís the case why I chose that over other means I could question myself now I thought that would be the most peaceful way to go I almost drown once when I was a child and I thought my circumstances the way they were and the lack of hope that I had that that would be my day that I would go and ah for whatever reason I didnít and Iím grateful now Iím grateful to all those around me in this room and many more that Iím around but thatís all I can say and I and I apologize for for any inconvenience and and danger I put those other parties into and I do not recommend or condone this sort of action for anyone and I would hope that they would get the help that Iím soon going to be getting to to stop this terrible thing called depression thatís (indiscernible) all Iíve got to say


Interviewer #1:           okay Kirk um have you had depression for a long time


Jones:                       Iíve had some for the last six months


Interviewer #1:          for the last six months


Jones:                      very strong depression


Interviewer #1:            have you ah sought any medical attention for that ah depression


Jones:                        no Iíve not


Interviewer #1:             have you told anybody else about that depression


Jones:                        to be honest no I havenít


Interviewer #1:             is is it (indiscernible)


Jones:                       obviously people knew I was depressed my parents I think knew I was depressed I would I donít know youíd have to ask them I donít know but I I I knew that I did not want to have my life going living the way it was and I decided that ah it was I had in my mind feel there was no hope that I can tell you all this anything else youíve heard (pause) is not from me


Interviewer #1:             Kirk


Jones:                        thatís all I can yell ya


Interviewer #1:            Kirk why did you select Niagara Falls can you enlighten me


Jones:                       well why did I select Niagara Falls that that thatís a great question I thought that that would be the the easiest most peaceful way for me to go out thatís all I can tell you Iím not scared of water so much as ah as of water like I say I Iíve almost drown once when I was a child Iím not one to ah I donít own weapons I canít kill myself that way I donít want to drive a car into a into a house or set myself on fire or any of these other maniac ways I I just in my mind and I canít tell you exactly why that is the way I chose why I chose


Interviewer #1:             how do you get along with ah your brother


Jones:                         me and my brother have fought for years


Interviewer #1:             and and


Jones:                       almost to the point of killing each other many times really


Interviewer #1:             why


Jones:                       I donít know I donít know itís just one of those things um there were times when Iíve hated the man so much ah ah my parents would verify this that ah weíve gotten the guns ah I donít have guns weíve gotten the knives out weíve gotten the clubs out we bashed the house up the police had to come I guess itís nothing unusual I guess if you read the bible Cain and Abel didnít get along too well either these things do happen Iím trying ah Iím a forty year old man now itís itís itís sad to see the that that kind of fighting going on um perhaps thatís one of the things that led me to my decision to go over the falls is when my parents left I felt somewhat abandoned and I would have to stay there with him and it would the house would then of course be his house and um those words came out of his mouth a few times well this is gonna be my house now you son of a bitch this is gonna be it and ah all these things added together um could make me decide to do this decision I did


Interviewer #1:             well the house is actually owned by your dad still right


Jones:                       right but it is gonna be changed over from what I understand


Interviewer #1:             why would it be changed over to him


Jones:                       because the par my parents are are are staying in [State withheld]


Interviewer #1:             right but why him as opposed to you


Jones:                       well my brother has has a legitimate job coming in my job my brother does work at Ford Motor Company


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                         ah um our our business is is over


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                       whatever me I had no visible means of income other than try and look for another job


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                        that that thatís where that stands


Interviewer #1:           how long have you been un unemployed ah I suppose thatís the question I have


Jones:                       overall about twelve twelve to twenty weeks twelve to twenty weeks I I had still lived under my parents


Interviewer #1:            were were


Jones:                       care


Interviewer #1:            were there any prospects of ah gaining full em employment


Jones:                        no not at that time


Interviewer #1:             in the near future


Jones:                         not no not at that time no


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                       um I obviously think I could work on something now perhaps


Interviewer #1:             okay (indiscernible)


Jones:                         once I get over this depression is what I wanna do the doctor wants me to immediately seek my personal doctor and ah and try medication and and therapy groups


Interviewer #1:             and your personal doctor is


Jones:                       Doctor [name withheld] in in ah [name withheld] Michigan


Interviewer #1:             okay


Interviewer #1:           do you do you have any major medical ill illness now besides the depression


Jones:                       no I don not



Interviewer #1:           well letís take the day when you when you went into the falls


Jones:                         okay


Interviewer #1:             okay were you on any medications then


Jones:                        no


Interviewer #1:             were you taking any illicit narcotics or


Jones:                       no


Interviewer #1:             or drunk


Jones:                       I did take two drinks that morning as liquid courage


Interviewer #1:             and what were they


Jones:                        vodka and orange pop if you can believe that


Interviewer #1:             and the amount


Jones:                         amount


Interviewer #1:             yeah how much would you have taken


Jones:                       about a half pint if it all (indiscernible) in a short of period of time Iím Iím guessing here I had a half pint and ah I made two drinks and I drank it so Iím thinking perhaps less but thatís all


Interviewer #1:             okay I got a question for you


Jones:                        yeah


Interviewer #1:             where did you guys park for free


Jones:                         (laughing) where did we park for free


Interviewer #1:             I have to ask that


Jones:                       well itís you could always park for free in Niagara


Interviewer #1:             no no no you said that you said that on the tape


Interviewer #2:             yeah you said I know a place we can park for free


Jones:                       (laughing)


Interviewer #1:           so tell me where you were parking so that I can park down there for free from now on


Jones:                       well I think early in the morning um if you go down past the old power house what do you I donít call it the old not the old power house but thereís another building thatís across the way that thereís the old power house on the right if youíre going down the


Interviewer #1:             (indiscernible)


Jones:                       well you know the old power house right thereís that older big build it looks like somebodyís old mansion they got all chained up what is that


Interviewer #2:             Toronto power house


Jones:                         the old Toronto power house


Interviewer #2:             yeah


Jones:                       I have to see what it looks like again itís pretty neat um anyway past that on the right hand side is the


Interviewer #1:             Dufferin Islands


Jones:                       thereís that little hut there where you can park just a little bit past there on the right hand side thereís the hut


Interviewer #2:             (indiscernible) house


Jones:                          huh the greenhouse probably


Interviewer #2:             (indiscernible) right


Jones:                       and and certain times of the day there nobodyís there yet


Interviewer #1:             and you parked did you park there that day


Jones:                       I think so yeah I think so I thatís where I can remember parking


Interviewer #1:             okay okay


Jones:                       again but see after a certain hour they must show up and then its business as usual I think


Interviewer #1:             right


Jones:                       I seen other people doing it so I thought it was okay and


Interviewer #1:           here hereís a question I have for you Kirk ah it deals with the fact that youíre talking about depression and you you you basically are saying to us that because of depression ah you wanted to end your life and you you ended up going into the falls and ah but on the other hand okay Iím hearing from Bob Kruger Iím hearing from your dad and Iím hearing from [your brother] when I talked to him that basically ah and and that um you are were talking to them about being able to come down here perform this stunt succeed and to gain notoriety and hopefully gainful employment from from (indiscernible) 


Jones:                         well Iíve heard this too Iíve heard this too


Interviewer #1:             this is what they said


Jones:                         this is what I read in the paper today


Interviewer #1:             no this


Jones:                         see I have read this in the paper too


Interviewer #1:             just so just so you know that Iíve spoken to your dad and your mom


Jones:                         um hm


Interviewer #1:           Iíve spoken to Keith I I havenít spoken to Bob but we certainly heard about Bob and Bob was spoken to that day


Jones:                        um hm


Interviewer #1:           and they all are towing the same line that you were in fact talking about it planning it beforehand so how do you help help me out how do I equate what theyíre telling me


Jones:                        well


Interviewer #1:             to what youíre saying now


Jones:                       well then I then I equate this how would a normal man feel that he could make it above all others when everyone else has died already going over that stupid thing I I knew in my mind there was no damn well I could make it there was no way in my mind I knew that um did I did I think this was my ticket ride to stardom and success no I did not think that and that isnít true thatís all I can tell you


Interviewer #1:             okay no I I Iím just telling you what they told me


Jones:                         I understand


Interviewer #1:             okay Kirk I mean I


Jones:                         I understand


Interviewer #1:           and I just wanted to try to ah get you to try to ah perhaps (indiscernible)


Jones:                       donít get me wrong I Iím gland Iím here


Interviewer #1:             yeah


Jones:                        but ah it wasnít supposed to be that way


Interviewer #1:           so the way it worked in your mind is that you ah ah basically in an attempt to commit suicide and failed


Jones:                       yeah thatís it in a nutshell I guess


Interviewer #1:           but in but in in on the other flip of the coin is that ah in doing so you continued to live and youíve become the notoriety of of being the first person in recorded history as far as I know of going over the falls without any floatation devices or safety devices and surviving 


Jones:                       that I canít explain to you


Interviewer #1:             (indiscernible)


Jones:                        (indiscernible) explain how the sun rises


Interviewer #1:           I donít I donít think you can explain that to anybody and I donít think that anybody can understand that ah because I can tell you from our experiences that no one has ever survived in in modern recorded history everyone who has committed or attempted suicide in in going over the falls has accomplished that task I can tell you that and I can tell you that since nineteen hundred um on an average at least eight to twelve people do it each year and they succeed so youíre youíre you are ah you played the odds and you won ah but those are the things I I wanted to ask you Kirk was with respect to what your mom what your dad and what your brother and what Bob was saying now at some point youíre saying you you you when did you actually cross in to Canada I suppose thatís a question I gotta ask ya


Jones:                         Iím sorry I donít understand


Interviewer #1:            when when did you come to Canada when did you come


Jones:                       oh when we come we came um see Satur that would be Saturday in the afternoon we left Michigan


Interviewer #1:             now I take it


Jones:                       and I did not arrive until um it was raining it was dark it was raining that Saturday night and it time it got into Canada it was raining miserable and cold and it had to be around nine oíclock at night when we came here


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                      okay we immediately came in I immediately looked for Lundyís Lane because I Iíve been here before and I realized thatís gonna be my cheapest hotels in the place generally right you guys know the area


Interviewer #1:             and youíre in Bobís car right Bobís car


Jones:                       Bobís car I stopped at two or three places they were too much for me I stopped at the [motel] and ah she said something like fifty a night and I said well I canít do that I said I can you give me something a special ah she goes ah okay Iíll give you thirty a night and I go okay thatís for two beds and she goes no thatís one bed so well can you give me two beds for forty she goes ah (indiscernible) I said tell you what you give me two beds for thirty-five and Iíve got the five dollars extra for the tax so forty bucks out the door Canadian right and she said fine and thereís where I stayed itís probably still the best deal in Canada right for forty bucks a night for a room


Interviewer #1:           so when do you buy the camera and where do you buy the camera


Jones:                       I had a camera I bought about ah three weeks ago in ah in (pause) two and a half to three weeks ago I bought it used out of a paper called the Trading Times itís a used paper for articles you probably got something like that around here itís for used merchandise and um I bought it for just ah to have ah actually (indiscernible) as a memory of of ah of my Niagara trip and and as well as a few other things I was gonna buy it for seeing my parents before they left


Interviewer #1:             yeah


Jones:                         but the problem is it never worked


Interviewer #1:             right


Jones:                       the problem is it never worked I had three battery packs not one of them would ever charge I couldnít even get the tape out and um just before my trip to Niagara I put the last battery pack on and it maintained a little bit of a charge


Interviewer #1:             um hm


Jones:                       and I put it on and I would record it and within thirty seconds it was dead again


Interviewer #1:             okay


Jones:                       so this is useless so I said well maybe Iíll try to play with it on our trip for Niagara thatís when I threw it in the car


Interviewer #1:             right


Jones:                       and I tried to do it once I made a little tape and and it died within minute


Interviewer #1:             right


Jones:                       I put it on again and then the next time it seemed to last like for two minutes


Interviewer #1:             right


Jones:                       try it again it last for three minutes and thatís where about where I left with it I I played a little game with it in the [motel] if you you


Interviewer #2:             (indiscernible)


Jones:                       youíve probably seen me playing around in the [motel]  going to the car


Interviewer #1:             yeah


Jones:                        playing a little game with it


Interviewer #1:           actually you should have let Bob do that see you you were you were actually using it and not giving Bob enough time to do it other than that he would have been able to record what you were doing now there therein lies the next question


Jones:                         um hm


Interviewer #1:           you knew you were going to the falls you give Bob specific instructions on how to record you um (indiscernible) going when you go in the youíre telling him (indiscernible)


Jones:                         no no


Interviewer #1:           and youíre telling them how to focus it itís right on the tape


Jones:                         I I


Interviewer #1:             where youíre sorta giving him instructions


Jones:                       I was giving him instructions how to ah how to video tape ah video tape in general on


Interviewer #1:           well what help me out here maybe Iím missing something here Kirk but if youíre planning to commit suicide whatís the purpose of the video tape and directing basically a show


Jones:                        well that that


Interviewer #1:             basically


Jones:                       that wasnít my idea at all to to to to give a show of my death to anyone (indiscernible) and there alone thatís probably why Bob didnít video tape it he knew how to operate it I showed him earlier we we played little games ah itís very simple to operate that thing once itís recording


Interviewer #1:           no but from what I we weíve listened to the tape and if you listen to the voice over itís like youíre giving him instructions


Interviewer #2:             yeah


Interviewer #1:           and and basically youíre playing up a show I gotta tell you that I Iím not Iím not lying to ya Iím Iím listening to this thing and Interviewer #2 has and youíre youíre youíre being the narrator itís almost like a show um and youíre telling him where to stand youíre telling him how to pan youíre telling him where youíre gonna be how to how to fol follow you in the water


Jones:                        (indiscernible)


Interviewer #1:             how to focus um thatís almost like a show to me


Interviewer #2:             itís there Kirk (indiscernible)


Jones:                        (indiscernible)


Interviewer #2:             itís itís on the tape


Jones:                         yeah


Interviewer #2:             I mean weíll let ya see it


Jones:                       yeah you can you can um but it was not my idea to ah ah record my own death that I could tell you now whether obviously ah you guys itís up to you whether you wanna push this into court and all that stuff and to prove whether did Kirky wanna kill himself did Kirky not wanna kill himself


Interviewer #1:             no just


Jones:                        I mean itís itís itís


Interviewer #1:            just so you know let me let me let me lay this right on you right now


Jones:                         I guess it would be like this


Interviewer #1:             it doesnít matter whether you what your purpose was


Jones:                          if if I was dead we wouldnít be here today


Interviewer #1:             yes


Jones:                          now that Iím alive itís a stunt so I donít know


Interviewer #1:           but it no I Iím just saying from what we we we listened to okay


Interviewer #2:           well basically youíre right is that either way youíre not allowed to go over the falls


Jones:                         well thatís you are totally right


Interviewer #2:             and that basically thatís it you know


Jones:                        youíre totally right youíre totally right


Interviewer #1:           and you had to know I suppose in your mind that if you did survive that youíd have to be at some point rescued itís not like you were ah you got wings and you can fly so you had to know that youíre gonna inconvenience people youíre gonna in


Jones:                       yeah hey youíre right there is a wrong here and I I am not trying to to to suppress it or deny it Iím shocked that Iím here to tell you it but ah of that Iím sorry


Interviewer #1:            I donít have any more questions Interviewer #2 do you have any


Interviewer #2:           no that was ah the video taping was the big one I I was curious


Jones:                       Iím sorry for for all the for all Iíve caused you people I would gladly go on TV to tell people never to try such a horrible stunt I would gladly whatever I can do to help the Park Commission to end this sort of thing tomorrow (indiscernible) grateful to me


Interviewer #1:          I hope you do that I do um so is there anything else that you want to say


Jones:                        Iím all set sir



 Interview Concluded.












Date last updated: February 13, 2012







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an Interview With A Daredevil