TWIN FALLS — For those who venture onto the Perrine Bridge, a common sight below is kayakers.
The relationship between those on the bridge and those on the water beneath can be tenuous at times, especially when someone high above drops something into the water far below.
When it does happen, the potential for someone in a kayak to be hurt is very real, said Paul Mehni, owner of AWOL Adventure Sports.
AWOL is the business authorized to rent kayaks at Centennial Park for those wishing to paddle along the Snake River.
“Growing up around here, you hear about things being thrown off the bridge,” Mehni said.
Signs posted by AWOL warn kayakers not to linger under the Perrine Bridge.
“We give verbal rules and safety speech before going kayaking, too,” Mehni said.
That speech includes the same warning.
“Fortunately, it’s very rare that anyone is hurt by something thrown off the bridge,” Mehni said.
He recalls only one incident, in fact. Back in 2016, a woman in a kayak was hit by something like a penny. It scraped her arm.
The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office confirms the calls about things being thrown off the bridge are few and far between.
“I only saw three incidents like this in all of 2018,” spokeswoman Lori Stewart said. “There’s been one so far this year.”
Two of the earlier calls were about people throwing rocks, Stewart added. One was a watermelon.
“All calls came from kayakers or someone in the water,” Stewart said. “Deputies responded and didn’t find anyone on the bridge.”
Proof that things have been thrown off the bridge can be found beneath the surface.
“We were doing recovery under the bridge,” said Melni, who previously worked as a scuba diver for the county and found shopping carts and bowling balls in the Snake River. “We hauled at least a dozen shopping carts out of the water.”
Given what he’s seen over the years, Mehni wants to be sure those renting kayaks from AWOL Adventure Sports are cautious.
“BASE jumpers and pennies: both will hurt from 486 feet,” he tells his customers.