DETROIT » A man who wanted to prove he could swim across the Detroit River from Canada to the U.S. after a night of drinking ended up prompting an international rescue operation.
John Morillo told The Windsor Star that Monday night’s swim from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, was "really stupid" and said in retrospect he shouldn’t have done it. He was cited for being intoxicated in a public place and released from jail Tuesday.
"I was drinking, but I wasn’t really drunk," Morillo, 47, of Windsor, said Tuesday. "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 said he regrets causing problems for authorities, including Windsor police and Coast Guard crews from the U.S. and Canada. Three boats and a helicopter responded, The Detroit News reported, and authorities warn the river’s current makes a dangerous place to swim.
"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 Windsor Star.
Police in Windsor initially responded around 11:30 p.m., when a neighbor of Morillo called to say she had lost sight of him about a half-hour earlier.
Morillo made it across to Detroit, getting out of the water near downtown’s Renaissance Center, and was swimming back when he was found about 12:50 a.m. Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard. During his stop on the Detroit side of the river he said people wanted to take his picture.
"There was one woman, she said she was from Windsor and she thought I was crazy," he said. She was right."
Morillo said he was told that he’ll also likely be fined for swimming in a shipping channel, which could be $5,000 to $25,000.