Four take New Year's plunge into Tiber
AFP - Friday, January 2
ROME (AFP) - - Four intrepid souls dived into the frigid waters of Rome's River Tiber on Thursday, observing a decades-old New Year's Day tradition, one achieving the feat for the 21st time.
Maurizio Palmulli, 56, dived off of the Cavour Bridge as dozens of well-wishers cheered him on, with emergency workers and two ambulances standing by.
Palmulli, a lifeguard with long white hair, notched up his 21st time taking the 17-metre (55-foot) plunge.
The tattooed grandfather from nearby Ostia said he dedicated this year's dive to the victims of heavy flooding in December that claimed one life in Rome and at least three others elsewhere in Italy.
Another professional diver, Marco Fois, took part in the dive for the 11th consecutive year. The 45-year-old bartender performed a double front flip on his way into the muddy, swirling river with the air temperature nudging over 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit), on a day of intermittent rain.
"I'm a bit of an enthusiast for Roman culture and tradition," he told Italian television, noting that his father lived near Cavour Bridge when the Tiber "was still swimmable."
"This is my duty, my only way of making a contribution to this city," he said.
Yuri Zdanowicz of Poland kicked off the event by jumping in feet first, followed by Algerian Samir Bishara.
The tradition was launched in 1946 when a Belgian expatriate, Rick De Sonay, made a habit of diving off the bridge at midnight each New Year's Eve, earning the nickname "Mr. OK" from the reassurances he gave anxious onlookers after each dive.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Related Articles: Entertainment & Lifestyle
Time Warner, Viacom reach deal in principle over fees disputeAFP - 1 hour 29 minutes ago
Alagna, Gheorghiu ring in the new year at the MetAP - Friday, January 2
BC-Best-sellers-Books-PWAP - Friday, January 2
'Mamma Mia!' Britain's biggest-selling DVD everAFP - Thursday, January 1
Album sales plunge, digital downloads upAP - Thursday, January 1
Marco Fois of Italy dives into Rome's river Tiber as part of traditional New Year celebrations from one of the many bridges of the eternal city. Four men sprinkled the muddy water of the Tiber with sparkling wine before taking the plunge from The Cavour bridge, continuing an annual tradition which dates back to 1946.
Most Popular – Entertainment
NASA describes final moments of Columbia tragedy
Actress Jennifer Aniston appears naked in GQ magazine
Japanese tourist spends 3 months in Mexico City airport
Hamas defiant as Israel rejects Gaza truce
World stocks end calamitous 2008, eye recovery
View Complete List »