Niagara Helicopters Limited

March 12, 2009 19:19 ET

Niagara Helicopters' Pilot Called an "Angel" for Saving Man in Horseshoe Falls

Dramatic Event Highlights Sight-seeing Company's Volunteer Role in Niagara Region's Search & Rescue Efforts

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2009) -

Editors Note: A photo is included with this press release.

Niagara Helicopters Limited, an aerial tour company based in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is being credited with saving the life of a man who jumped into the rapids above the Horseshoe Falls yesterday (March 11, 2009).

Working against the odds, pilot and owner of Niagara Helicopters, Ruedi Hafen, said he and his team had to contend with some of the most treacherous conditions imaginable - ice, high winds and waves - while trying to rescue a man who was resisting their efforts.

The man had already unhooked his arm from a sling extended to him and Hafen said he was worried about the helicopter's tail rotor dipping in the water on subsequent attempts to pull the victim to safety. "We had three good men on the helicopter and you strive for making this a success, the shore is 200-feet away and everyone on shore is ready for the guy. He was already in the water for 30 minutes and he was getting weaker."

Hafen tilted the helicopter at an angle which created a wave that swept the man closer to shore making it easier for rescuers on the ground to reach out to him. The man is now recovering in hospital.

Niagara Fire Department today called Hafen an "angel". "I've been living on a cloud," the 56-year-old pilot beamed. "I'm very elated. Nobody got injured, we didn't lose any equipment. It was a team effort, I was just the pilot."

Niagara Helicopters, which is better known for its aerial sight-seeing tours over Niagara Falls, has been an active participant in search and rescue missions in the Niagara Region for over 27 years. Staff volunteer their time and take annual search and rescue training courses, while the company donates the use of its helicopters, life-saving equipment and fuel for the missions.

"We have the experience and the equipment and want to do whatever we can to help people in dire situations," maintains Hafen. "When we get calls we go, no questions asked."

Editor's Note: If you would like to interview Ruedi Hafen of Niagara Helicopters or learn more about the company's search and rescue volunteer efforts in the Niagara Region, please contact:

Aneta Fleming
Niagara Helicopters Limited
Phone: 1-905-357-5672
Fax: 1-905-374-2856


For 48 years, Niagara Helicopters Limited has been thrilling passengers of all ages with the most spectacular view of Niagara Falls and all its wonders from one of five meticulously maintained Bell 407 helicopters. The heliport is located along the Niagara Parkway, just minutes from the Falls.

For those looking for an unique experience, Niagara Helicopters also offers a variety of VIP Charters including visiting local wineries or getting married over Niagara Falls! For more visit

To view the photo of Pilot and owner Ruedi Hafen, please visit the following link:

Photo Caption: Pilot and owner of Niagara Helicopters, Ruedi Hafen: "I'm very elated. Nobody got injured, we didn't lose any equipment. It was a team effort, I was just the pilot."

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