Lover's Leap back to normal

Lover's Leap is open to the public again after Wednesday's accident.

Hannibal Parks and Recreation Director Chris Atkinson told us crews have repaired the two fences, which were ripped in half when the ladies drove off the cliff.

The city will sit down with its insurance company next week to look at the need and cost for more barricades on Lover's Leap.

KHQA's Rajah Maples drove up Lover's Leap Friday afternoon and talked with most of the visitors.

They came from all over the country, as far away as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Although the talk of Lover's Leap is usually about the two boys who went missing 40 years ago and the legend behind the cliff's name sake, Friday the talk was all about Wednesday's accident.

Not only were visitors admiring the beautiful scenery of the Mississippi River, but they also were pointing down to the tree, talking about what happened with the two women, asking whether they survived, then passing the story on to the next visitor before leaving.

KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with the Hannibal firefighter who was the first on the scene on Wednesday.

He told KHQA it was a day he'll never forget.

Shane Jaeger was the man who climbed down the cliff Wednesday to help secure the car and calm the two trapped women. He waited with them in the car until Engineer Jeff Moore attached himself to this cable and was lowered down about 30 feet. These are never-before-seen closeup photos of what it looked like down over the cliff during the rescue.

Jaeger said, "We've always known we had that potential up there, and we practiced for it. Not necessarily having a car off the side, but we've practiced for having people in that position."

Even though the entire story is amazing, here's a visual that might make chills run down your spine. This is the small tree that actually caught the women's car. As you can see there are about four to five branches shaped like a fork or rake. But the largest of the branches is only 3- to 4-inches wide in diameter. Jaeger said there was nothing to catch the women's car had these branches snapped.

Jaeger said, "For them to land the way they did and not to plummet or have the tree snap, they were lucky.

Jaeger said if you looked down out of the windshield while it was in this position, you could see straight down the cliff.

"Both of the women were very calm for this situation," he said.

Although you wouldn't wish this happening to anyone, Jaeger said it was definitely a highlight of his career. Here's a photo of Jaeger on the left with the two women along with Moore following the rescue. Jaeger says this type of scenario is exactly why training is so important.

Now there are a lot of stories about how Lover's Leap got its name.

But Monday on KHQA, I'll tell you the version that tourists hear when they visit America's Hometown.