Evel Knievel may be better known for the jumps he missed than the ones he made. He first shot to prominence with his attempt to jump the fountain at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas; he was unsuccessful, and was injured so badly he spent the next 29 days in a coma. But his greatest stunt gone awry is his ill-fated attempt to leap the Snake River Canyon in Idaho (after repeated government lobbying failed to win him permission to attempt a jump over the Grand Canyon). The leisure-suited stuntman made his attempt on September 8, 1974, using a specially-made steam-powered rocket called the Skycycle X-2. But his parachute deployed almost immediately, creating enough drag to pull him back nearly to where he had launched his flight. Kneivel landed a few feet from the water, a fortuitous ending–had he fallen into the river, he would have drowned due to a malfunction that kept him attached to the Skycycle. He emerged from the stunt with minor injuries, but eventually accrued enough broken bones–433 in total–to secure a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
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