updated 12/18/2003 10:05:16 PM ET 2003-12-19T03:05:16

A Michigan man who survived an unprotected plunge over Niagara Falls was fined $2,260 Thursday and ordered to stay out of Niagara Park for a year.
Kirk Jones had skipped a procedural hearing in the case held in November, sending his lawyer in his place. He has been free on bail since his arrest. Jones had faced possible fines of $7,000 for the stunt.

The former auto parts salesman said that he was depressed when he climbed down a small embankment and jumped into the Niagara River, which swept him over falls on Oct. 20.
When Jones emerged from the water 180 feet below, he complained of injuries that include broken ribs and bruised back. But he remains the only known person to have survived the trip without a barrel, life jacket or other device.

“The water was like an ice bath,” he said.

“I was swallowed into the belly of this beast ... The pressure was so great I thought it would rip the head from my body,” he said.

Jones said his depression is now over.

“All my problems were left at the bottom of that gorge,” Jones, 41, said Thursday during a return visit to Canada, where he was fined after being charged with mischief and illegally performing a stunt.

When the first officer reached him, “he stated his name was Kirk and he had gone over the falls and was alive,” attorney Michael Quinn said during Thursday’s hearing in the Provincial Court of Justice.

Jones has joined a circus in Texas.

But “we’re not going to match the caliber of the stunt that he’s already done,” said Philip Dolci, an assistant manager for the Toby Tyler Circus. Jones will begin touring with the circus on Jan. 9 in Houston.

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