Today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most daring and dramatic rescues in the history of the Niagara River. The remnants of a now rusted boat intrigue visitors from around the world.
Known as the ‘Iron Scow’, the boat has been trapped 600 metres from the brink of the Horseshoe Falls since August 6th, 1918. Thats the day the Scow broke loose from its tugboat during a dredging operation, leaving 2 American workers stranded and surrounded by the raging Niagara River.
And so began a 17-hour rescue mission, involving first responders from both sides of the border..
“This was before anybody had invented a helicopter. They had to figure out how to get these guys off it, and no one was going out there in a boat of any kind.” says Jim Hill, Superintendent of Heritage, Niagara Parks.
So the U.S. Coast Guard supplied a cannon that shot a rope from the roof of a nearby power plant to the stranded men.
Hill Continued, “At this point there’s probably 100 people involved trying to rescue these guys, but the sun is going down and the problem is the lines get tangled.”
Enter Legendary Niagara Daredevil William ‘Red’ Hill Sr.
Kipp Fin the Great-Grandson of William “Red” Hill Sr. says, “He volunteers. I believe his exact words were, yeah i’ll do it, its certainly isn’t impossible.”
After a second trip into the water hill is able to untangle the lines, and the two men are brought safely ashore.
Tonight Niagara Parks hosted a ceremony at Toronto Power Park to commemorate the occasion. And in honour of not only Hill, but all the first responders who risk their lives every day for our safety,