BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - Police have launched an investigation into the death of a man who fell into Niagara Gorge as he was being chased by a police officer, authorities said on Wednesday.
Ryan Dube, 18, was killed and the officer with the Niagara Regional Police Service suffered a broken leg in the incident at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, authorities said.
During the chase, both of them mistakenly hopped a waist-high retaining wall and Dube fell to his death, they said. The wall is roughly 30 to 40 yards above the gorge.
His body was found about three hours later after a massive rescue effort that focused on Niagara Gorge less than a mile downstream from the famed falls, authorities said.
Dube fled from the officer who stopped him for questioning regarding violations of his curfew that was a condition of his probation, said JoAnne Turner, director of the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, Canada.
“Apparently in an effort to flee the police officer, he went over and the police officer went right after him,” she said.
According to Canadian law enforcement officials, the officer, whose name was not released, suffered a broken leg and was airlifted to a nearby trauma center.
“It’s a very treacherous little stretch,” Turner said, recalling incidents in which tourists straddle the wall for a better view of the falls before realizing the danger.
An independent investigation into the police’s role in the incident will be conducted by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which was contacted by local police following the death in accordance with Canadian law.
Turner said Dube had been staying at a local youth home, where staff said he had no behavioral trouble other than occasionally missing curfew.
“He was very well-liked by staff and residents,” she said. “He was making good progress.”
She said she did not know why Dube was on probation.
“It’s just tragic,” she said. “There’s no other word to describe it.”
Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Stacey Joyce