Wesley Hill, 76; Last of Brothers in Niagara Falls Rescue Business

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Wesley Hill, 76, who helped rescue dozens of people from the Niagara River above and below Niagara Falls, died June 12 in Greater Niagara General Hospital, his family said.

Hill was the last remaining brother of a family whose business was river rescues and body recoveries. Until a few years ago, he worked as a special constable and consultant with the Niagara Parks Police, possessing a wealth of knowledge about the river, falls and gorge from a lifetime of observation.

He was born in Niagara Falls the same year his father rode the lower rapids in a barrel, but Hill often expressed disdain for stunts. His brother, William “Red” Hill Jr., was killed in the early 1950s attempting to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel made of inner tubes.


Another brother, Major Lloyd Hill, had tried to conquer the falls a year earlier but his metal barrel ran aground.

“I enjoy life too much to challenge the river unnecessarily,” Wesley Hill told the Buffalo News in 1979.