Teens taking on the “cold water challenge”

WINNECONNE – What some teenagers view as fun, others say is actually very dangerous.

Videos of the “cold water challenge” are popping up on social media.

Lance Dahlke of Winneconne took on the challenge a few weeks ago.

“It took your breath away as soon as you jumped in, it was pretty bad.”

So did Adisen Fenrich.

“Basically just for fun.”

And Alex Ford.

“I pretty much jumped in a ditch that was like five feet deep with some pretty nice current.”

In fact, the Winneconne High School students say a number of other students have taken on the challenge that started there about a month ago.

“So one person nominates three people and then that person nominates three more and basically it just spreads really fast,” said Fenrich.

Capt. Greg Cianciolo is the commander for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department dive team. He says the videos popping up on social media are concerning.

“The water temperature. Right now it’s between 40 and 45 degrees.”

And Cianciolo says it’s not just the cold, but also the fast moving spring currents.

“People don’t appreciate the strength of the current and how quickly it can pull somebody away from shore and into deeper water.”

The teens we spoke with say their parents were with them or gave them permission to do the challenge. But not all parents think it’s a good idea.

“I’m worried about the kids,” said Stacey Herbst.

Herbst says her 16-year-old daughter did the challenge even after Herbst told her not to. Herbst says this isn’t a situation of kids being kids.

“I’m afraid it is going to take a tragedy for these kids to understand what can really happen and I don’t want to see it go that far.”

But the teens insist they are being careful and having fun at the same time.

“It is just for fun because it’s understandable if you don’t want to do it because the water is pretty cold and other people’s parents don’t want them to do it, but it is fun to laugh about it and talk about it and it’s a memory to make your senior year,” said Dahlke.

Cianciolo says the biggest concern is teens taking the challenge at night where people on shore can quickly lose sight of them.

blog comments powered by Disqus