Helo Pilot Rescues Uncooperative Niagara Diver
Sometimes it's hard to be a hero, especially when the person being rescued has other ideas. That didn't stop Ruedi Hafen, owner of Niagara Helicopters, from saving the life of an unidentified 30-year-old Ontario man who went over Niagara Falls without a barrel. He became only the third person known to have survive the plunge unaided (and perhaps the first to skinny dip) but it wasn't for lack of trying. In the end, it was only Hafen's flying feat that put the man into the arms of rescuers whom he'd been trying to avoid.
With some cooperation from the guy in the water, the rescue could have been textbook. Hafen, who normally flies tourists over the falls, had a police officer on board who managed to get a sling on the man, but he broke free. Hafen actually dipped a skid in the water beside the man and urged him to climb aboard. The man swam away in the 40-degree water and continued to resist rescue efforts from the helicopter and a boat. That's when Hafen used the rotorwash from the helicopter to push the fleeing man toward rescuers. "He was constantly looking at us, looking like `I don't need you, what are you doing here?'" Hafen told the Toronto Star. "I'll never forget those eyes." The man is recovering in hospital.