Skandinaven -- July 11, 1900[Down Niagara Falls in a Boat] Peter Nissen of Chicago Passes the Rapids Safely
Peter Nissen, of Chicago, who prefers to be known under the name of "Mr. Bowser," went safely down the Niagara Rapids and the Whirlpool Rapids yesterday, in his boat the "Foolkiller."
The trip over the rapids lasted two minutes and a half, and during about one-third of this time both Mr. Nissen and his boat were hidden by the waters.
Mr. Nissen wore his business clothes as usual and outside these he wore a coat of cork. He was not tied to the boat, since he wished to be free so that he could swim in case the boat were to overturn without righting itself again. Mr. Nissen stepped into his boat at four o'clock in the afternoon and was pulled out into the current by two men in a rowboat.
Having arrived in the middle of the stream, his dangerous course was beginning.2
Almost at once the boat was buried in the foaming waves. The keel of the boat, weighing 1,250 pounds, shot straight up into the air as if it had been a little stick of wood, and the boat literally turned topsy-turvy. Both man and boat disappeared beneath the waters, and the people along the shores and upon the bridges believed that he had expired. Suddenly, man and boat shot out of the foaming waters, however; clearly Mr. Nissen had not lost his courage. With his left hand he clung to the boat while with his right he pulled off his cap, waving it to the people.
When finished with the rapids, Mr. Nissen yet had to pass the dangerous Whirlpool Falls. Here the waters circulate at a terrible rate of speed. One gets the impression as if the waters, in an immense fall, are dropping straight into the center of the earth.
The boat was pulled down into the whirling deep; then it reappeared, and again did Mr. Nissen wave his cap. The whirlpool kept him prisoner for forty minutes, but little by little he managed to work his course out toward the outer edge of the 3pool, and three men, fastened by ropes to stones at the side of the river, swam out toward the whirling waters as far as they dared, and finally succeeded in getting hold of a rope which Mr. Nissen threw to them, and he was pulled ashore.
Women rushed up to Mr. Nissen to shake his hand; men applauded him. He complained that he was freezing; the water was ice cold, and he was almost palsied after the icy bath.
The boat used by Mr. Nissen for his dangerous feat is twenty feet long and four feet deep, built of pine with frame and keel of elm. In addition to the ordinary keel, the boat has an iron keel weighing 1,250 pounds, and the total weight of the boat is over two tons. There is a screw driven by foot power, and the boat has six airtight compartments, two in the bow, two in the stern, and one on each side.
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