In 1979 two couples with their children escaped East Germany in a home made hot air balloon. The balloon climbed to 6000 feet and landed in West Germany. It was their second attempt, their first landed 200 yards short of the border.
The first person to ride down Niagara falls in a barrel and survive was a 63 years old dance teacher from Pennsylvania named Annie Taylor. Before taking the plunge, she launched a test barrel with her cat inside. The cat survived.