A view of the American side of Niagara Falls.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- It was a swim that landed three friends in jail. It could have landed them in the morgue.
New York State Parks Police Lt. Patrick Moriarty is still stunned by what three Kentucky men did while visiting Niagara Falls Sunday morning.
The men, all aged 20, lowered themselves into the lower river from the deck of the Cave of the Winds platform on the U.S. side, then made their way along the shoreline towards the thundering Horseshoe Falls.
Once near the base of the falls, they all hopped in the water and started swimming towards it.
"I don't think they realized how dangerous the water is," said Moriarty. "If the current carried them more towards the middle (of the river), they'd have been swept down."
State Parks Police were notified of the swimmers by a Cave of the Winds staff member. Rescue crews had to be sent down to pluck the trio out of the river.
"They were in no hurry. I was afraid they might get sucked (down) while we were waiting for them, so we went down and got them."
The men were wearing bathing suits and sandals, and seemed oblivious to the danger of what they just did. They were jailed overnight and released on bail Monday morning.
Adam Jones, Michael Samples and Edward Goins -- all from Frankfort, Ky. -- were charged with disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment. They will reappear in court Sept. 5.
Moriarty can't recall anyone willingly getting that close to the falls without actually going over them.
"They thought of it while they were down there and decided to do it," he said. "They went as far as they could go on foot, then they ended up swimming in the water right at the edge of the base."