Published July 24, 2013
OTTAWA (AFP) – A Canadian looking to prove his swimming skills, and drunk, provoked an international rescue when he jumped into the Detroit River and swam to the United States, police said Wednesday.
John Morillo, 47, told the Windsor Star after being released from custody on Tuesday the stunt was "very stupid" but he relishes now being able to boast to friends about his exploit.
"I was drinking, but I wasn't really drunk," Morillo told the Canadian daily. "The thing is, I've been telling people I'm going to swim across the river for years and they're like 'yah, yah, blah, blah, you can't make it.' So, I don't know, last night I just decided it was the time to go."
Morrillo reportedly managed to swim across the river separating Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, and have his picture taken by curious passers-bye, and was heading back when he noticed a stir around him.
His neighbor back on the Canadian shore had called police when she lost sight of him in the treacherous waters.
A search was launched in the middle of the night involving Canadian police as well as both US and Canadian coast guards, three boats and a helicopter. He was eventually found on the Canadian side of the Detroit River at 12:50 am local time (0450 GMT), nearly two hours after he first jumped into the river.
"As soon I saw the helicopters going by and the boats looking for me, I was like 'oh, this is really stupid,'" Morillo told the Star.
"The harbor master was extremely mad at me," he said. "I don't know, maybe they pulled him out of bed or something."
Authorities said he has been charged with public intoxication and faces fines of up to Can$25,000 (US$24,200) for swimming in a shipping channel.
He also has been barred from the waterfront.