Niagara Falls & Roger Woodward

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erhaps one of the most miraculous stories ever told took place at Niagara Falls on Saturday afternoon, July 9,1960. A man from Niagara Falls, New York took two children for a boat ride in the upper Niagara River. The boat developed motor trouble, capsized into the river and all three were thrown into the upper rapids. The man went over the Falls and was killed.

At the same time, the 17 year old girl was plucked 6m (20ft) from the very edge of the Falls and her seven year old brother, wearing only a life jacket and a bathing suit, went over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. He came out alive to tell his story. His name was Roger Woodward.

Luckily, one of the scenic Maid of the Mist boats was just making its turn below the Falls when one of the crew spotted the bright orange life jacket. The veteran Captain Clifford Keech, maneuvered his boat so that the crew could pick up the boy on the starboard side. After two unsuccessful throws, a life preserver landed within reach of the crying youngster. Lifted safely on board the vessel, Roger mumbled his concern about his sister. Within the hour, word spread of this Niagara miracle. Roger was whisked to the Greater Niagara General Hospital in Niagara Falls, Ontario where he remained for three days with a slight concussion.

Roger Woodward on life preserver

Another miracle was occurring at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls on the American side at Terrapin Point. Seventeen year old Deanne Woodward was being furiously swept towards the brink of the Falls. Hundreds stood at the brink of the Falls almost paralysed with concern for the plight of this young girl.

Two men, both from New Jersey but unknown to each other, sprang into action. John R. Hayes, a truck driver and an auxiliary police officer from Union, New Jersey climbed over the rail, stretched out his arm and pleaded with Deanne later said that his pleading voice made her swim harder and she caught his thumb just before going over the Falls. Fearful the current would break his hold on the young girl, he shouted for help, Climbing over the railing, John Quattrochi of Pennsgrove, New Jersey cam to the rescue and the two pulled the frightened teenager to safety. Once on land Deanne's concern was also for her brother. Quietly, John Quattrochi whispered "Pray for him"

With only a cut hand, Deanne was rushed to a hospital in Niagara Falls, New York where she learned of her brothers miraculous fate. The body of the man who had taken them on a boat ride, Jim Honeycutt, was freed from the depths of the Niagara River four days later.

Roger Woodward returned to Niagara Falls, Ontario on the thirtieth anniversary of the accident and spoke to the congregation at the Glengate Alliance Church. The audience was hushed as the 37 year old told how the 12 foot aluminum fishing boat equipped with a 7.5 horsepower motor was caught in the fast flowing current, capsizing after hitting a shoal and breaking a pin in the engine.