Polar Bear Swim
2000 Darwin Award Nominee
Confirmed True by Darwin
(1 January 2000, Canada) Believe it or not, there are people who dive into the ocean for a refreshing swim every New Year's Day. It's called a Polar Bear swim, and it's just a crazy ritual to most of us. Anyone who has seen the film Titanic, or read a book about Eskimos, knows that icy water brings on rapid hypothermia and death. But our hero Adrian, studying for his doctorate in Forestry, was not one to heed such trivial concerns.
This 38-year-old man was enjoying a hockey game with friends on Kingsmere Lake when he attempted a Polar Bear swim between holes cut two meters apart on the lake. He dove in at 1:30 AM and failed to resurface.
It is common knowledge that it is nearly impossible to find a small hole in the ice once you've slid beneath the surface. Particularly when you are suffering from the effects of hypothermia: low blood pressure, confusion, and weakness.
Frantic friends jumped in but were unable to find him. They aimed car headlights at the hole to help Adrian find his way back, but to no avail. "The water was only waist deep," said the man's brother. "He must have gotten disoriented."
Adrian's frigid body was recovered Saturday by firefighters, not far from the ice hole that tempted him to his doom.
Sascha Leib commented on 3/13/2000:
"The practice of swimming in ice holes is common here in Finland, and accidents occasionally happen without anyone questioning the general joy and positive health effects. It really is fun! And it's an excellent way to improve blood circulation and strenghten the heart. However, it is strongly advised not to dive into a hole because you can easily lose the way out. And it is highly recommended that you avoid putting your head under water. The scalp has the most temperature-sensitive skin, and it hurts!"
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Submitted by: Guynemer, Ralph Hempel
John P. LeBlanc, Giovanni B. Filosi
Reference: Toronto Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette