Nathan Boya

Nathan Boya, (also known as William Fitzgerald) conquered the falls on June 30,1961 in a contraption of his own design called a “Plung-O-Sphere”, becoming the first African American to descend the falls. Boya constructed the 1250 pound sphere out of rubber which was stretched over a steel frame. He was inspired by fellow dare devil Jean Lussier who had successfully made the trip over the Falls in a rubber ball in 1928. Knowing that many daredevils in the past died of suffocation, Boya included an air tank which would last for up to nine hours in case he became caught under the mighty falls. He would make the plunge and emerge unscathed, however, he was greeted by police and was arrested and fined $113.00 by Niagara parks officials.

Boya was unique to other daredevils as he was not looking for fame or fortune, after paying his fine he left the public eye and went into relative obscurity. He later went on to earn his post-doctorate degree in medical behaviour.