Ice-Bridge Tragedy of Feb.4, 1912

George Bailey   

It was on this date that three people lost their lives when the Ice Bridge they were standing on below the falls started to break up and carried them to an icy death in the lower Niagara River.

Here’s how it happened. The phenomenon of the Ice Bridge found in the Maid of the Mist pool just below the falls takes place a number of times during a cold Niagara winter (at this time there is no Ice Bridge formed below the falls). Sometimes in January, February and March a mild spell followed by a strong southwest wind breaks up Lake Erie ice above the falls and sends it down the Niagara River and over the falls. The wet ice is forced up out of the water below the falls and it freezes into agglomerate mass of giant ice blanketing the river below the falls. People at that time would walk out onto this ice for the thrill of it. However, on Feb 4, 1912 the ice suddenly started to break up and carried there people who were stuck on one of the large chunks of ice and carried to their deaths. Attempts to rescue them by suspending a rope from the Honeymoon Bridge failed.

It is fool hardy and illegal since that date to venture out onto the Ice Bridge.