From the Silly news desk
Some news from Key West. Lets see if Mr. Patrick can escape the Monroe County jail.
Hat tip- Rick at SOTP
Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Clash of Civilizations,
KEY WEST - Patrick the Escape Artist entertains crowds at Mallory Square's nightly Sunset Celebration by hanging upside-down from a 10-foot tripod and freeing himself from chains and straitjackets.
But at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday -- after reminding the crowd that Halloween was the 80th anniversary of Harry Houdini's death -- Michael Patrick drastically altered his routine: Tightly wrapped in a straitjacket, he did a back-flip off a ledge and plunged into the fast-moving Key West Harbor waters, 35-feet deep.
He didn't resurface.
The unsuspecting tourists thought it was part of the act. But for those who knew Patrick, 55, who has worked at Mallory Square for 15 years, the plunge was so unusual they feared the worst.
Two fellow performers and three police officers dove into the strong current. When they failed to find Patrick, four agencies launched an all-out search-and-rescue mission. The U.S. Coast Guard sent in a helicopter from Miami.
Three hours later, the search was suspended with Patrick's plight a mystery. Was he dead from a tragic accident? Was it suicide? Or something else?
''I was not able to sleep, thinking he might be dead,'' said Patrick's friend and fellow performer, Joseph Burai, who jumped into the water without concern that his shiny Silver Man makeup could lure barracudas.
Wednesday morning, hours after search efforts began again, Key West police found Patrick hiding at a Key West guesthouse.
Now, Patrick the Escape Artist is jailed at the Monroe County Detention Center, charged with culpable negligence. Police say he endangered the lives of those who dove in to rescue him.
''His actions placed concerned citizens and members of the Key West police and fire department's dive teams in jeopardy, and that is not something that we take lightly,'' Key West Police Chief Bill Mauldin said in a statement.
Patrick told police he was planning a press conference to reveal his hoax when they found him too soon and ruined his big ``ta-da.''
Despite the havoc Patrick caused, including putting his pal Burai's life in danger, Burai was forgiving. ''It was a good trick,'' he said. ``He's still my friend. And it's better they found him alive than dead.''
One mystery remains. How did Patrick pull off the disappearance? Even under good conditions it takes about three minutes for him to escape from the straitjacket.
Patrick would not reveal his ''magician secrets,'' police said.