Jeffrey Petkovich & Peter DiBernardi
Peter DeBernardi had always had visions of going over the falls in a barrel, however, by the time he arrived on the scene in the late 1980’s, daredevils were plentiful and usually the fame was fleeting.
DeBernardi had a slightly different idea. He planned on being the first ever two-person team to go over the falls. His only problem was finding a suitable partner. He offered the seat to several area residents including Dave Munday who politely refused his offer.
In 1989 he announced that he would take the plunge with Jeffrey Petkovich, a 24 year-old university student. The barrel that he constructed was a 3000 lb 12 ft reinforced steel tank. Inside it contained harness straps and two oxygen tanks. On the side of the barrel were the words “Don’t put yourself on the Edge – Drugs will kill you”.
Small plexi-glass windows enabled DeBernardi to videotape the entire stunt. On the afternoon of September 28th the barrel, with both men inside strapped head to head, was set afloat in the Niagara River about 200 yards above the Horseshoe Falls.
Minutes later it was spotted below the falls. DeBarnardi and Petrovich had accomplished what no other daredevil had yet to accomplish. They had made the trip over the falls as a duo. Each stunter was eventually fined 1,500 for performing an illegal stunt.
DeBernardi was quoted as saying that it was a small price to pay to be immortalized in the history books. To discourage future stunters the fine for anyone attempting a stunt was raised to a maximum of $10,000, and the ability to confiscate the stunters barrels.