Bridge jumper's new Cold Water Challenge: A dunk tank


Maybe some of the Hennepin County sheriff's deputies who wasted hours searching the Mississippi River for Joe Sanislo this month accepted a little cold water challenge of their own Thursday.

Sanislo is the 19-year-old whose leap off a Coon Rapids bridge was part of the social media craze known as a cold water challenge. In his case the jump led to a criminal charge of disorderly conduct after law enforcement – unaware his jump was a stunt – put resources including boats and a helicopter into their search.

FOX 9 reports that on Thursday Sanislo and the friend who taped his bridge jump set about making amends by offering themselves up in a dunk tank. A five dollar bill bought a chance to drop Sanislo in some cold water and helped the Twinkling Angels Fund. FOX says the charitable group supports families in crisis, particularly those unable to afford tombstones for children who have died.

FOX reporter Leah Beno demonstrated how the dunk tank works and found immediate success.

Sanislo and Jordan Meuleners subtitled their appearance at the Twinkling Angels Fund's golf tournament "Bad Stunt turns into Good Dunk" FOX says.

Unbeknownst to Hennepin County deputies; Brooklyn Park police officers; firefighters from Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, and Fridley; the Department of Natural Resources; and the State Patrol, Sanislo wore a life jacket during his jump and had already made it to shore before authorities started their search for him.

The Star Tribune reported it was only after authorities discovered Meuleners' video on YouTube that they called off the search.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek issued a statement critical of the stunt.

Cold water challenges have been spreading like a virus on social media and are sometimes used to raise money for charity. They also sometimes lead to injuries or death, as in the recent case of a Carver County 16-year-old who jumped into Eagle Lake and did not resurface.

As she prepared to send Sanislo underwater FOX's Beno noted the teen has been doing a lot of apologizing since his bridge jump.

Meuleners' father, Ken Meuleners, tells the station: "You raise your kids to do the right thing and somethimes they trip. Give them some advice and hopefully, they'll learn from it."

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