How Going Over Niagara Works

Robert Overacker, 1995

Maybe people don't listen to the news, or, if they do, they don't believe what they hear. In 1995, five years after Jesse Sharp died going over the Falls in a kayak, Robert Overacker decided to attempt it on a jet ski. He was a 39-year-old graduate of a California stunt school who raced cars at Ventura Raceway. He also sold classic British cars. Friends said he had planned the stunt for seven years. His reason for going over? To draw attention to the homeless. His jet ski was decorated with stickers that said "Save the homeless."

His plan seemed simple. He had a rocket-propelled parachute strapped to his back that he would activate just as he was going over the brink of the Falls. He would ditch the jet ski and float safely down to the Maid of the Mist pool.

The parachute did not deploy, however, and Robert fell the 180 feet (55 meters) to the water below. Police at the scene said hitting the water like that would be like hitting cement. His body was recovered by workers on the Maid of the Mist tour boat.