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Minnesota man charged after 'cold water challenge' jump into Mississippi River

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A 19-year-old Coon Rapids, Minn., man faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge for participating in a YouTube stunt jump off a Brooklyn Park bridge last week that had rescue crews scrambling by air, land and water.

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Joseph Mark Sanislo told investigators that he was participating in was is called a cold-water challenge, in which someone jumps into a cold body of water after being “nominated” on a social media site. The dangerous jump, alternatively called the “plunge and pose,” generally requires a videographer to record the moment. When someone is nominated via social media, he or she usually is offered the alternatives of jumping or donating money to charity.

Law officers strongly discourage the stunt, mostly because of safety concerns both to officers and the public. Lakes and rivers are high, fast, cold and full of debris this time of year, which makes them especially risky. The stunts also eat up public safety resources.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a warning after several people jumped - or tried to jump - into the Duluth ship canal; that's illegal, not to mention life-threatening because of strong currents and cold water.

In the instance that resulted in charges, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office got a report late Wednesday that a man had jumped off the 610 W. River Road bridge into the Mississippi River. Several public safety agencies responded with resources that included boats, a helicopter and scuba divers.

The man who videotaped Sanislo’s jump has not been charged.

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