Sport: SAFC players ignore hazards, laws by jumping into San Antonio river during championship celebration

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Multiple San Antonio FC players jumped into the San Antonio River during a championship celebration along the River Walk on Tuesday night, breaking a longstanding city ordinance that bans swimming.

However, it was not clear whether San Antonio Park Police, whose jurisdiction includes the river, intends on pressing charges.

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A spokesperson with the San Antonio Police Department did not immediately return requests for comment.

Dig deeper: Drownings, killer parasites are why it’s illegal to swim in the San Antonio River

Among those to jump in the river was Mitchell Taintor, who stripped down to his underwear before jumping into the river as several hundred fans watched along the River Walk at the Arneson River Theater.

Video of the celebrations shows Taintor take the leap from a moving river barge. Another video shows three team members, one of whom was holding the championship trophy, leap into the river from the Arneson River Theater stage.

Swimming in the section of the river that winds through San Antonio and Bexar County is a misdemeanor offense, according to the city ordinance. The ordinance states that it is unlawful to bathe, wade or do “any other water contact recreational activity.”

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Violators can face fines up to $500.

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Swimming in the river, especially near downtown, can also be dangerous. Above the water are boats, debris and dams. Beneath the surface are conduits, infrastructure, and sediment so thick that it sometimes acts as quicksand.

Three drownings in the river in just three years in the 1970s prompted city officials to ban swimming. However, SAPD has only issued seven citations in the last decade.

Not only is swimming in the river illegal and dangerous, it’s also unhealthy. Unsafe levels of E. coli are the biggest concern in the river. The bacteria, which live in the intestines of people and animals, pose hazards to human health when ingested.

The downtown stretch of the River Walk has concentrations of E. coli that are four or five times higher than what the state recommends as being safe for swimming.

San Antonio FC defeated Louisville City FC 3-1 in the USL Championship final on Sunday. They secured the first league title in club history at Toyota Field. The team was celebrating the win Tuesday night.

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