ROLLAG, Minn. — Jet Ski enthusiasts got hundreds of thousands of YouTube views when they recorded a watercraft jumping a gravel road from one small pond to another.
They also got slapped with a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources citation for the stunt, which took place in rural Clay County in northwestern Minnesota.
The group of friends posted the video under the YouTube channel name CboysTV, and had logged more than 409,000 views as of Thursday evening.
A DNR conservation officer was not amused upon learning of the stunt. He investigated the incident and has now issued two tickets —one for operating a personal watercraft without a life jacket, and one for careless operation of a personal watercraft.
The citations are misdemeanors, but if the fines aren’t paid or the operator is otherwise found guilty, the cases become petty misdemeanors, according to Jacob Swedberg, the conservation officer.
The group that made the initial video later posted another video to YouTube in which an apology, of sorts, is offered and a montage of media coverage of the initial video is presented.
Members of the group that posted the first video acknowledge in the second video that not using a life jacket wasn’t a smart move, though they express dismay at the level of attention the first video received, stating media reports of a DNR “investigation” were overblown.
The “apology” in the video amounted to acknowledging that the watercraft failed to “stick” the landing after it arced across the gravel road, spilling its driver into the water.
After the initial video began capturing attention, Swedberg issued a warning to the public that being on the water in Minnesota in late fall, particularly when not wearing a life jacket, can result in life-threatening situations due to the threat of hypothermia and drowning.
“You never know what the reason is why you get thrown into the water and that life jacket gives you that much more protection to bring you back to the surface,” Swedberg said.
According to Swedberg, the stunt took place near Minnesota 32 near Rollag.