UB Student Dies after Being Swept Away By Raging Current of Niagara RiverBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
The New York State Park Police have confirmed the details of the deceased who perished after slipping off a rock and fell into the Lower Niagara River on Saturday night. Lt. Patrick Moriarty of the State Parks Police declared that the body was identified to be Narang "David" Kim, a 23-year-old MBA student at the University of Buffalo, who was also a teaching assistant in its school of management.
Kim went off the trail at 6.30 p.m while walking with his friends and his mother, who was visiting from Korea. He then climbed onto an algae-covered rock and slipped into the water before anyone could rescue him.
"The young man had stepped on to a rock that was at a very steep angle into the water.....and one that just into the water," Moriarty said. "There was also algae on the rock making it very slippery."
The park Police lieutenant said that along the shoreline in the river gorge, the water moves so quickly that "if you put too much of your foot in there, (the current) just grabs you."
"He apparently slipped into the water and before he could grab onto something he was pulled in," Moriarty said. "He was last seen being pulled out into the middle of the river, down river from the whirlpool."
Moriarty said that he was taken downstream by the deadly waters at the Niagara Whirlpool, below the Aero cars, noted for sharp river bends, and then vanished into the whirlpool waters of the Lower Niagara River gorge.
"It's dangerous. If you get too close to the water's edge - right where the river turns and the water is ripping around that corner, and it grabs your leg, and you slip on the algae-covered rock that's under the water, you only have seconds to react, and if you don't grab onto something quickly it will drag you right out to the middle of the river. We've seen that happen about four times in the last few years," Moriarty said.
Moriarty said that hikers are safe unless they follow the marked portion of the gorge trail. Even if they sustain injuries, it will not be anything more serious than a twisted ankle. The trouble comes when people go off the trail.
"That part of the river is nothing to fool around with," Moriarty said.
Park visitor Lisa Vitello said that hikers unaware of the trail, look to go as far as possible to enjoy the thrill of discovery, but they are ignorant of the possible dangers they might face.
The hikers on the gorge are always advised by the park police to avoid getting closer to the waters.
"You just got to be real careful what you're doing. It's real dangerous down there. One wrong slip and it's a real bad day," Joe Smigiel, a hiker, said.
With torrents and sharp rocks throughout the lower Niagara River, survival chances are sleek when someone falls or slips.
"Unless you're an unbelievably strong swimmer, you're not getting out," Vitello said.