Cold Water Challenge Claims a Life in Minnesota

Cold water ChallengeThe Cold Water Challenge has now claimed a life. Davis Colley of Minnesota died Friday night after jumping into a lake as part of the social media-driven challenge. Colley, 16, told his girlfriend via text of his plans to take part in the challenge by plunging into the lake near the Baylor Park fishing pier on Friday evening.At approximately 9:30 p.m., police were notified that a teenaged boy had gone underwater in Eagle Lake and had not surfaced.  Carver County officials responded to the lake in Camden Township and began a search for Colley.  His body was recovered at approximately 11 p.m. Friends of Colley could give no reason why he made the decision to take part in the Cold Water Challenge or why he chose to do so alone. The incident is under investigation.

The Cold Water Challenge is most popular among high school or college students, and begins when one person “nominates” another on social media to either make a donation to a cancer charity or jump into cold water. As the challenge has grown in popularity, the dare has become less noble, as some nominees are being given options such as bringing the nominator alcohol or jumping into cold water. After the challenge is posed, the subject has a deadline of one to two days to take the plunge and post video proof online or else they must donate money or perform some other task they were challenged to do.

Also in Minnesota, the Hennepin County sheriff is looking into whether the man who dove from the 610 West River Road Bridge into the Mississippi River Wednesday night did so as part of the challenge. After reports of a man jumping from the bridge were received at approximately 8:35 p.m., numerous rescue and police organizations responded, including several neighboring fire departments, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources. It was later learned that the jumper had donned a life jacket prior to his leap and was able to swim to shore. A video of the man’s jump was posted on various social media sites shortly thereafter.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said that although officials are always willing to rescue those who are in trouble, when people need help unnecessarily due to a dangerous stunt, they put the safety of first responders and other officials in danger as well as themselves. The sheriff’s office is looking into whether charges will be brought against the jumper and the person who recording the jump. Said Stanek, “If being stupid was against the law, well, this might qualify for that very thing.”

In the northern Minnesota city of Duluth, an Army Corps of Engineers employee prevented a college student, who confirmed that she was participating in the Cold Water Challenge, from jumping into Lake Superior from the piers. The Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers in Duluth, which houses the University of Minnesota – Duluth, are warning people against taking the challenge. The cold waters in Minnesota at this time of year could prove deadly to jumpers due to the gasp reflex, which occurs when the water is so cold as to shock the person entering it, causing water to be breathed into the lungs, which could result in drowning.

Minnesota officials are concerned about the popularity of the Cold Water Challenge in their state due to the extremely cold temperatures of the lakes and rivers after a particularly cold winter. They also remind the public that in many cases, it is against the law to swim in navigation channels or to jump from piers.

By Jennifer Pfalz

Star Tribune

5 Responses to "Cold Water Challenge Claims a Life in Minnesota"

  1. Heidi   May 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

    it is still a matter of having some basic smarts regarding when and where they enter. Jumping off a pier? dumb! jumping into a lake with big ice floats still in it? dumb!
    I say dumb on the part of the participant, not necessarily the challenge.

  2. Kathy Lindback   May 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Until an investigation is completed and all the facts are known by the police and the immediate family, the media should not be printing anything or saying anything via TV or media sources. By giving information that has not been validated you put other lives at risk. The loss of Davis is a big enough tragedy to his family and friends without rumors or unverified facts being leaked or written. Too many people try to take advantage of the attention given here and may even try unwisely to copy the actions presumed in other to get attention themselves. Therefore I beg you to use better judgement and wait until all the facts are in. Above all, allow the family and their friends to grieve in peace. Kathy Lindback

  3. Theresa   May 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you. This sounds like it is extremely sensationalized, the facts aren’t even accurate to justify it being part of the challenge as I have heard them thus far… Alone especially, the whole point seems to be peers video taping it.

  4. mj   May 12, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Doing the cold water challenge alone? How would it be recorded? Was there a camera found?

  5. Tim Sanders.   May 12, 2014 at 5:34 am

    This is not a fact that Davis Colley died while doing the cold water challenge. Your own picture shows a girl in a bikini, while Davis was found fully clothed. In a effort to sensationalize a story, you are miss stating facts. Davis didn’t tell anyone he was going to do the cold water challenge that evening. Tim Sanders, Grandfather.


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