A quick search on YouTube of Minnesota bridge jumping results in at least a half a dozen videos of people jumping off bridges into area lakes and rivers. It’s a popular thing to do on area waters but it can be risky.
It’s a popular thing to do on area waters but it can be risky.
“You might be diving into something that is 5-6 inches of visibility and surprises can happen pretty darn quick,” said Mark Duggar, owner of Midwest School of Diving. He’s performed dozens of rescue and recovery dives. He says even if people know a bridge, structure or rock formation well — beneath the surface is what is unpredictable.
“If you’re jumping off a structure into even five feet of water, do you know what’s on the bottom?” Duggar said.
Levi Woullet, 18, went missing Monday night. His body was recovered from the North Fork of the Crow River in Wright County Thursday night. Deputies say he was swimming near the Keats Avenue Bridge which locals say is a popular location for people to jump off. A witness says Woullet went under the surface Monday night and did not come up.
“You have to ask yourself, Is it 2-3 feet of muck? Is it a sand bottom? Is there a structure down there that you can’t see,” Duggar said. “There really is no sure safe way to bridge or cliff jump.”
Heavy boat traffic, rains or current can move objects beneath the surface and conditions that were clear may not always be. Despite some structures or bridges having “no diving” signs, there is no state law that bans bridge jumping.