DNR officer mulls ticket for Clay County stunt, warns cold weather dunks can have scary outcomes
ROLLAG, Minn. — The video has splashy production values.
There's even a drone to provide a bird's-eye view as a young man prepares to jump a personal watercraft from one rural Clay County pond to another, clearing a gravel road in the process.
But he doesn't stick the landing and instead the watercraft crashes, sending the rider somersaulting into icy water. Laughing buddies help the waterlogged rider from the water, a bit battered, but apparently none the worse for wear.
Still, it all could have ended much worse, according to Jacob Swedberg, a DNR conservation officer who is investigating the recent stunt, which took place near Minnesota Highway 32 near Rollag and was captured on a video posted to YouTube.
Swedberg said on Thursday, Oct. 31, he is still deciding whether to issue a citation and if so what the charge will be.
He stressed, however, that this time of year is a particularly dangerous time to be on the water in Minnesota, as cold water shock can cause someone who falls in to reflexively take a deep breath, possibly hastening a drowning.
And, Swedberg said, anyone who falls in a lake or slough without a life jacket on has a much slimmer chance of getting out safely, especially if they are alone.
The stunt in question is getting a good deal of attention on YouTube. As of Thursday afternoon, it had received over 279,000 views. Posted Monday, Oct. 28, the video was produced by a YouTube channel called "CboysTV."
The video shows a Yamaha watercraft zooming around a small pond before hitting a ramp that sends it across a gravel road and into a second small pond.
Much of the video focuses on the preparation for the jump and its soggy aftermath, when the rider is helped out of the water by friends clearly amused by it all.
But the what-ifs are important to consider, according to Swedberg.
"Anytime someone goes into the water this time of year there are many factors that can play into it, hypothermia, things like that," Swedberg said, adding: "When you get a stunt where you see someone thrown off of a vehicle and without a life jacket, you can say it's lucky there wasn't something more severe that happened."
Minnesota law does not require adults to wear a life jacket while boating, but it does require watercraft to carry life jackets for everyone on board.
Swedberg said it always makes sense to wear a life jacket while boating, but especially when the weather and the water turn colder.
"You never know what the reason is why you get thrown into the water and that life jacket gives you that much more protection to bring you back to the surface," Swedberg said.