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Man Who Fulfilled River Jump Dare Arrested

DES MOINES, IA (KCCI) - Police and rescue crews were called to the Des Moines River Friday afternoon on a report of a man in the river who said he jumped in the water on a dare.

Police said Camron Heitkamp, 38, jumped into the Des Moines River downtown.

Heitkamp entered the water at Second Street and Locust Street, ending up downstream near the Des Moines police station on East First Street.

Sgt. Jason Halifax of the Des Moines Police Department said its the fast current that took Heitkamp the long distance.

Heitkamp got out of the water under his own power, and he was charged with public intoxication and swimming in the river.

Swimming in the river isn't illegal unless it's within city limits.

Within the city limits, it is illegal to swim in the river whether its the Raccoon or Des Moines, Halifax said.

Police said there's a long list of reasons why it's illegal, including that a person's swimming abilities may be limited, and it's hard to control your rate of speed down a fast-moving river. Also, river debris can injure a swimmer, a problem exacerbated by the recent rains, making swimming in the river more dangerous.

Right now the river's very high, the current's very fast. If you're not familiar with the city if you're not familiar with where the dams are, you could easily get caught into the wash of the dams, Halifax said.

Police said if Heitkamp did end up in the dam, he likely would have died.

Halifax said that the Friday night incident was a waste of resources and puts rescue teams at risk.

If you're launching rescue personnel, you're putting them at risk, especially right now.

Des Moines police said most people who enter the river do so accidentally, so it's rare to find someone who does it on purpose.

As far as river levels go, public works said they'll remain stable.

 
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