A 26-year-old man who jumped 100ft from bridge into a river had to be rescued after getting into difficulty in the water – and was then arrested once brought to safety.
Jimmy Jennings, from Louisiana, was filmed plummeting into the alligator-infested Atchafalaya River because he was ‘bored’ of waiting in traffic on the I10, near Lafayette, and wanted something to do.
The stunt – which saw Jennings free-fall from the Basin Bridge fully-clothed – prompted a rescue mission that lasted a number of hours as he struggled to swim against the strong currents.
The video of Jennings jumping into the river was posted on Facebook and shows him taking a running jumped between the standing cars before diving over the barrier and falling into the murky water.
Jennings was subsequently arrested by St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office for criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.
Speaking to Daily News Jennings said he feels lucky to be alive after struggling to swim in the river.
He said: ‘I started going under and almost drowned a few times.
‘I really and truly thought it was the end of my time. I asked God for forgiveness.
‘I forgave everyone in my life. It was hectic.’
In explaining his decision to pull the stunt, Jennings said he and a friend had been caught in a traffic jam for more than two hours that was caused by a multi-car collision.
He said his intention was to jump into the Atchafalaya River and then swim back to shore and jump right back into his friend’s car.
‘We were bored inside the truck… I looked down at the water, and it didn’t seem too far.
‘As soon as my fingertips came off that side, I was like, “Oh my god, this was the stupidest idea.”‘
After realizing he couldn’t swim to shore, Jennings had to remain in the water for three hours while rescue crews tried to save him.
‘I was just high on life’, Jennings wrote on Facebook.
He added: ‘Everything was going my way and I’ve seen people do it before only I remembered after I jumped that was in movies.
‘Once I hit the water, my mouth busted open and I hurt my left arm. I tried to swim to the shore, but the current was too strong.
‘An hour and a half in, I was so tired of swimming. My left arm went out. I turned onto my back and would push with my right hand and my legs whenever I went under. I was praying the entire time.’
Eventually, Jennings said he was able to swim against the current and crawl back onto the shore of a small island.
When he finally made it back to the mainland authorities placed him in handcuffs following a medical check-up.
‘They got me with criminal mischief and some other charges. It was crazy to do what I did.
‘But after the fact, after realizing it was a bad idea, everything else I did was in pure survival mode’, Jennings said.
Khory Vaughan, a friend of Jennings who was with him at the time of the stunt and recorded the video, told WBRZ: ‘We are familiar with the water and the area, but I don’t think he was prepared for what came with it.’
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