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Niagara falls survivor released from jail
( 2003-10-24 08:58) (Agencies)

A Canadian judge on Thursday agreed to release a U.S. citizen who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls and ordered him to stay out of Canada except for court appearances.

After his brother posted his bail of $1,000 Canadian ($760 U.S.), Kirk Jones spoke briefly with a swarm of reporters before leaving in a sports utility vehicle with a tabloid television crew.

"Monday, I feel like I reached out and touched the face of God and he smiled," Jones said of his plunge. "I'm feeling very happy to be alive. I ask no one to ever try such a stunt again."

The Canton, Mich., man is the only person known to have survived a plunge over the falls without a safety device.

Jones has said despair led him to plunge over the falls Monday. Police, however, said Jones was performing an illegal stunt and arrested him after he was released from a hospital Wednesday. Jones refused to comment on why a friend tried to videotape him as he went over the falls.

Jones, 40, spoke little during his brief appearance in a provincial court room except to say he understood the charges against him. He is charged with mischief and unlawfully performing a stunt.

Jones and a friend had been drinking vodka and Coke before heading to the falls, where Jones climbed a protective railing and floated feet first over the falls, prosecutors told the court.

"Well, you're lucky to be standing here," the judge told Jones.

Inspector Paul Forcier said police were reviewing the videotape made by Jones' friend, who has not been charged.

Jones' brother, Keith Jones, said he believes his brother was despondent.

"I believe it was more reaching out for attention," he said, noting that his brother is unemployed and not married. "He didn't really have a lot going for him."

Jones has told reporters that he had been suicidal but that the experience made him want to live. Authorities had suggested he was simply a daredevil the latest in a long line who have sought to conquer Niagara Falls over the last century.

Family and friends have said Jones had been considering the jump for years. Eric Fronek, 21, told ABC that his friend had discussed it in the past, but was driven to act by depression.

 
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