By Tom Tracy
Talk about a bad start to the New Year! A Manhattan man suffered a serious injury when he jumped into the Atlantic Ocean with the Coney Island Polar Bears on January 1, ending a usual festive day on a morbid note. Witnesses said that Mohan Seneviratne was one of the last swimmers to jump into the waters off of Stillwell Avenue at 1 p.m. Monday. It’s believed that Senevirante jumped into the surf head first, struck a sandbar and hurt his neck. When Senevirante didn’t come back up, worried bathers grabbed him and pulled him out of the water. When paramedics arrived, Senevirante was reportedly conscious, but could not move his feet or legs when asked, witnesses said. The 32-year-old was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. Officials at the hospital did not divulge the extent of his injuries. According to the New York Post, Senevirante’s father rushed into Lutheran Medical Center upon hearing the news that his son had been taken there, wanting to know what happened. Members of the Coney Island Polar Bears said that this was the first time in recent memory that someone was injured during their annual New Year’s Day plunge into the Atlantic, which is followed by a sign-up and a plunge pledge. Despite the mishap, members of the Polar Bear Club said that the 104th jump into the water was a complete success. By day’s end, the Polar Bears managed to raise $25,000 for Camp Sunshine, a year-round retreat for children with life-threatening diseases. Nearly 350 people participated in the annual event, officials said.