Bobby Leach

A decade after Annie Taylor made history by going over the Horseshoe Falls an Englishman named Bobby Leach followed in her foot steps. Leach, unlike many of his earlier counterparts thoroughly researched his trip down the falls. He spent much time testing his barrel before he would perform his stunt. He went through two test barrels before settling on a third made entirely of steel, and on July 25th, 1911 Leach made the perilous trip down the Horseshoe Falls. The trip would prove to be a success, and after 39 minutes in the river Leach emerged triumphant, however, his barrel would not come out unscathed.  The barrel was tossed and turned many times in the rapids and its front and back bumpers were destroyed when it struck a protruding rock, resulting in extensive cuts to Leach’s head and ear, broken knee caps and a broken jaw.

Undaunted by his earlier injuries Leach would again cheat death when he successfully parachuted from the Falls View Bridge, and again when he jumped from an airplane over Niagara Falls. Ironically Leach died when he slipped on an orange peel while on vacation in New Zealand. Leach suffered a fractured leg which was later amputated in hospital due to complications, when gangrene struck Leach succumbed to his injury at the age of 67.