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Drunk Canadian Swims From Ontario to Detroit

After fulfilling a lifelong goal, his intercontinental swim was disrupted by a rescue mission.


The mile-wide stretch is a no-swim zone.
Photo via

By May Wilkerson


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A Canadian man with lofty hopes and a high blood alcohol content swam to the US by crossing the Detroit River earlier this week, authorities report. John Morillo, 47, says he was about eight beers deep but "wasn't really drunk" when he made the decision to fulfill a lifelong goal. "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,'" he says, "So, I don't know...I just decided it was the time to go." Morrillo says he made it across the mile-wide river separating Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan—one of the world’s busiest shipping channels and with the powerful undertow—and was on his way back to Canada when he realized he was surrounded by helicopters and rescue boats. His neighbor in Canada had alerted police when she lost site of him and they'd launched a rescue party involving both US and Canadian coast guards. “As soon I saw the helicopters going by and the boats looking for me, I was like ‘oh, this is really stupid,’” said Morillo, who was arrested for public intoxication and released on Tuesday. He faces fines of up to Can $25,000 (US $24,200) for swimming illegally in a shipping channel, and has been banned from visiting the waterfront. Additionally, he faces the wrath of his mom: “She just hung up on me,” he said, “She said ‘you’re just so stupid.’”

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