Cold Water Challenge: Viral Dare Linked to Death of Minnesota Teen

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 10:29 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The cold water challenge, a viral dare that has gained popularity recently as a means to raise money for charity, has been linked to the death of 16-year-old Davis Colley, whose body was recovered late Friday night in Minnesota's Eagle Lake.

According to friends of the teen, the boy was participating in a cold water challenge, but never returned to the surface, KSTP-TV reported.

The cold water challenge, a play on the popular "Polar Bear Plunge," involves a person videotaping themselves jumping into a cold body of water and then posting the clip on social media.

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Aside from the spectacle of seeing a person jump into frigid waters, the jumper can also use the opportunity to raise funds, particularly for cancer charities.

Authorities initially attributed the teen's death to a swimming accident because he was swimming alone in the lake when he died. The case remains under investigation, ABC News reported.

In addition to the 16-year-old's death, the cold water challenge has also reportedly led to a series of injuries.

"We know about a fractured ankle, a student who had to get stitches to the head, and some minor sprains and injuries," Nicole Dizon, a spokeswoman for New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, told ABC News.

"The main thing is, if you're jumping into the lake, the lake is murky. You're not sure how deep it is," Dizon said. "There can be rocks and other things in the lake and at this time of year, the lifeguards aren't on duty."

Last week, New Trier administrators sent a letter home with students informing parents of the potentially hazardous online dare, according to Dizon.

"This seemed like a fun, harmless thing to do and we understand that, but we also know going into the lake at this time of year is something that can be dangerous," she added.

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