DNR: Don't rise to 'Cold Water Challenge' - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DNR: Don't rise to 'Cold Water Challenge'

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What began as a stunt to raise money for charity has become a deadly social media fad, and the Department of Natural Resources is now warning people not to accept nominations for the "Cold Water Challenge."

On Friday night, 16-year-old Davis Colley drowned in Eagle Lake -- and his friends are now urging everyone to avoid taking part in the so-called cold water challenge because they say it's the reason he's gone.

"He texted his girlfriend and told his girlfriend he was going to the lake to do the cold water challenge," Steven Smith explained.

Yet, even despite the recent death, young people apparently feel the pressure to take part. On Sunday, a group of young girls ran into Lake Calhoun.

"Everyone was kind of doing it, so I was like, 'Oh, I kind of want to try it. Seems fun,'" Julia Maras admitted.

Friends say Colley tried to take on the challenge alone, but the girls at Calhoun were supervised by an adult.

"I feel like if you just have, like, supervision and you have people around you, then you'll be fine," Sarah Shapiro said.

Even though she was still shivering, Mia Maras told Fox 9 News that she would take the challenge again if someone were to nominate her to do so one more time.

Nominations from peers on social media are keeping the risky fad going, but the initial point of the challenge was to raise money for charity. Either way, DNR representatives say it simply isn't safe to jump into frigid lakes.

"That quick instant shock of your body jumping in and hitting that icy water -- that can cause you to go into cardiac arrest, even for somebody with good health," Kara Owens warned.

Water below 70 degrees is considered cold by the DNR. Currently, the average temperature of lake water is just 40 degrees.

"Your body does an involuntary gasp when you jump into that water, and that can cause you to breathe in water," Owens explained. "You can drown from only a half a cup of water in your system."

In fact, even though the group that jumped into Lake Calhoun had adult supervision, doctors who spoke with Fox 9 News say that unless there is an adult around who is actually trained in water rescue and CPR, it's still an unsafe stunt.

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