Rescuers called in as man drunkenly swims from Canada to U.S. and back

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:47 EDT
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John Morillo via screencap
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A Canadian man is sorry for the ruckus he caused after he chugged eight beers and swam across the Detroit River and back, prompting rescue personnel to turn out three boats and a helicopter to search for him. According to the Windsor Star, 47-year-old John Morillo of Windsor, Ontario denied that he was drunk when he made the decision to swim to Detroit and back Monday night.

“I was drinking, but I wasn’t really drunk,” said Morillo Tuesday upon his release from jail. “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.”

Morillo reportedly informed his drinking buddies of what he was about to do, then took to the water. Around 11:30 p.m. Monday night, a neighbor called police saying that she had lost sight of Morillo in the river.

Morillo came ashore in the U.S. at Detroit’s Renaissance Park, turned around and started home. It was then that he saw the rescue boats and helicopter.

“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 Canadian Coast Guard picked up Morillo on the Ontario side of the river. He was arrested and charged with public intoxication and swimming in a shipping channel, which carries fines from $5,000 to $25,000. The Canadian Harbor Authority is inspecting the incident.

“The harbor master was extremely mad at me,” said Morillo. “I don’t know, maybe they pulled him out of bed or something.”

Someone even angrier than the authorities, however, may be Morillo’s mother.

“She just hung up on me,” said Morillo. “She said ‘You’re just so stupid.’”

Watch video about this story, embedded below via the Windsor Star:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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