Police warn against polar bear swims

Police warn against polar bear swims Jumping in the Yukon River in January is probably a bad idea, in case that wasn't already obvious. The RCMP's Cpl. Natasha Dunmall said police got a couple of phone calls on Jan.

Jumping in the Yukon River in January is probably a bad idea, in case that wasn’t already obvious.

The RCMP’s Cpl. Natasha Dunmall said police got a couple of phone calls on Jan. 1 and 2. People had either seen others jump in the river as part of a “polar bear swim” or seen photos of what happened on social media.

While no one was hurt and it’s not illegal, police point out its probably not a great idea.

The swims were happening in and around the intake of the Yukon River.

“There is a demonstrated danger of drowning due to strong currents and undertow in certain areas of the Yukon River, without having the added danger of frigid northern winter temperatures,” Dunmall said.

Water rescues this time of year, when the river is freezing, would be “logistically challenging,” Dunmall said.

Plummeting temperatures this week meant it’s unlikely anyone dared to take a dip. But things should be warming up, so Dunmall believes the warning is justified.

“If people must partake in a polar bear swim, we urge them to take the proper precautions for their own safety and to ensure that they have someone on the shore with appropriate rescue training and equipment.”

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