Man charged for jumping from bridge into Mississippi River as stunt

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a report that a man jumped off the 610 West River Bridge into the Mississippi River in Brooklyn Park on May 7. This led to a broad emergency response in what authorities believe was a hoax, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said a video of a man in a life jacket who jumped off the bridge, into the river and then swam to shore was posted online after the incident was reported to authorities around 8:35 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, the sheriff’s office reported.

Several agencies responded to the call, including the Minnesota State Patrol — with a helicopter — the sheriff’s office, Brooklyn Park police and fire departments, Fridley and Coon Rapids fire departments, and the Department of Natural Resources.

The incident was later determined to be a stunt after a video of the jump surfaced on social media sites.

Joseph Mark Sanislo, 19, of Coon Rapids was charged on May 12 with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The man who videotaped the incident has not been charged.

During the course of the investigation, Sanislo told investigators he was participating in the “Cold Water Challenge,” in which people jump into a cold body of water and videotape the stunt for social media.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office strongly discourages anyone from taking part in an activity which poses serious risks.  The “Cold Water Challenge” has been linked to several injuries nationwide. While the risk of injury and death are certainly the most important reasons that people are urged not to engage in dangerous stunts, there are also other public safety concerns.

“First responders routinely put their lives on the line to rescue people from cold water and other hazardous locations,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “We don’t want first responders to be put into harm’s way needlessly. These situations are entirely preventable.”

He added, “I strongly advise against participating in attention-seeking stunts that waste valuable resources.”


–Compiled by Alicia Miller and Paul Groessel