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Women Saved From Brink of Horseshoe Falls

August 28, 1988

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) _ Two women were rescued from the brink of Horseshoe Falls after they jumped from their boat and clung to rocks until workers rescued them.

Janelle Spain, 25, and Karen Himmel, 23, of Hammond, Ind., suffered only bruises in the accident Friday night, authorities said.

They were unfamiliar with the river and drove their boat through control gates at the International Central Dam. Once a boat passes the control gates it has reached a point of no return, one official said.

Niagara Parks Police said the women lost control of their boat, apparently after it hit rocks in the shallow water near the falls.

″They had no knowledge of the danger involved because it was apparently their first venture into the area,″ said Niagara Fire Chief Gilbert Neufeld.

Passers-by saw the women in the 16-foot boat above the falls and called police. When authorities arrived about 20 minutes later the pair had abandoned ship and were fighting the current a few hundred yards from the brink.

Ms. Himmel was rescued by workers who threw her ropes and pulled her over a retaining wall.

Ms. Spain lost her grip and was swept down the river toward the 173-foot- high falls before grabbing onto another rock. She was rescued by a fireman who, connected to a lifeline, swam out about 150 feet to her, officials said.

Operators closed off control gates to lower the level of the river and slow its pace approaching the falls, exposing rocks so the women could grab onto them.

The two women, who were camping on the Ontario side of the river at the time of the accident, were treated for bruises at a hospital and released.

Last month, four boaters were rescued from rocks 40 feet above the falls by workers who formed a human chain and waded into the river’s rapids. Those boaters had begun drinking while sitting aboard the craft in a marina, authorities said, and hadn’t realized how it had drifted.

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