People took plunge in New Haven despite bitter cold temperatures - WFSB 3 Connecticut

People took plunge in New Haven despite bitter cold temperatures

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A father and son took the plunge in New Haven on Monday despite bitter cold temperatures. (WSFB) A father and son took the plunge in New Haven on Monday despite bitter cold temperatures. (WSFB)
People waited anxiously  to take the polar plunge in New Haven on Monday. (WFSB) People waited anxiously to take the polar plunge in New Haven on Monday. (WFSB)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Several people braved the dangerously cold temperatures and jumped into the Long Island Sound in New Haven on New Year's Day.

The polar plunge was part of the first day of New Haven Festival at Lighthouse Point Park on Monday morning. The plunge helps to benefit Elm City Parks Conservancy. 

Shannon Auten said it was her New Year's resolution to take the plunge. 

"I read a book this past summer called 'What Doesn’t Kill Us,'" Auten said. "It was about environmental conditioning so the idea just popped up and I wanted to put it into practice. 

Her son Taylor Auten said it was a way to sober up. 

"I’m out here for science," Taylor Auten said. "I’m looking for the best New Year’s hangover cure."

Dozens still forged on in the face of those wind chills on Monday and all emerged from Long Island Sound the same, bitterly cold. Organizer Marge Ottenbreit said in the 16 years of doing this as a fundraiser for New Haven Parks, 2018 was by far the coldest.

"Other people want to do it, it’s a rite of passage, a way to start the new year," Ottenbreit said.

In the end, hundreds of dollars were raised to benefit Elm City Parks Conservancy. 

Before plungers took the leap at Lighthouse Point Park , sand needed to be applied to the shore because it was iced over. Meanwhile, alert paramedics such as Amy Ramos were on standby ready to serve, looking for these symptoms of hypothermia.

"Shivering, lack of coordination, numbness and tingling, weak pulse, things like that," Ramos said. 

None of the plungers needed medical attention. 

In the end, dozens went in the water. Many with little clothing, completely submerged themselves for several seconds. They were ushered back to heated changing areas even with a cup of coffee wrapped in his hands. Taylor Auten said he was still caught off guard by how cold it was.

"It was so much colder than I expected, even in the water," Taylor Auten said. "The ground was icy, I almost slipped." 

Due to the bitter cold temperatures, many other organizations canceled their plunges this week. 

Stay with Eyewitness News streamed the whole event on our app and the Channel 3 Facebook page. 

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