The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 9, 2014

Law enforcement take cold stance on plunges

BROOKLYN PARK (AP) — Law enforcement and rescue personnel say a seemingly harmless act linked to charity has potentially dangerous consequences.

An online trend across the Midwest has teens and even adults taking what's called the "cold water challenge" and jumping into icy cold lakes, rivers and ponds in the name of charity.

In late April, Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange sent out a warning after his department learned a youth in his late teens jumped from Buessman Bridge north of New Ulm near the Brown and Nicollet county line. A videotape of the plunge was found on Facebook by Brown County deputies, who then contacted the neighboring sheriff's department.

Such jumps caused serious injuries to a Wisconsin teen and sent first responders in Minnesota searching the dark waters of the Mississippi River for a man who took the challenge and jumped off a bridge in a Twin Cities suburb.

Participants have 24 or 48 hours to record themselves jumping into the water and then posting the video online, otherwise, they need to make a $100 donation to a charity.

A Laconia High School junior Kayla Jacob is recovering from muscle and ligament damage in her knee after taking the challenge from a friend and jumping into Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago, where she landed on a clump of razor-sharp zebra mussel shells.

Her injuries will require months of healing and physical therapy, Kayla's father, Trevor Jacob told Action Reporter Media. The stunt will cost the 16-year-old softball standout the remainder of her high school softball season as well as the summer softball season and running with the cross-country team this fall.

"Some kids have learned from Kayla's accident, but I don't think a lot of kids are taking this seriously," Kayla's mother, Angela Jacob, said.

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