Report: Limbless man swims Channel

Limbless Frenchman swims English Channel

A Frenchman who lost all his limbs in an electrical accident successfully swam across the English Channel on Saturday, a challenge he spent two years preparing for, his support team said.

Philippe Croizon, 42, set off from Folkestone in southern England just before 8 a.m. (06:00 GMT) and arrived on the French coast just before 9:30 p.m. (07:30 GMT), propelled by his specially designed, flipper-shaped prosthetic legs.

According to an official, Croizon landed on a rock at the bottom of a cliff near the Wissant coast in Calais and his support team said he immediately boarded a boat heading to Britain.

Steadying himself with the stumps of his arms, he was advancing at a constant speed in good weather, his support team said, adding that he was in good form and had been accompanied by dolphins for part of the crossing.

Croizon swims at around three kilometers (two miles) per hour, slightly slower than the four or five kilometers per hour that an able-bodied athlete might achieve.

In 1994, the metalworker was hit by a 20,000-volt charge as he attempted to remove a television aerial from a house roof and an arc of current surged through him from a nearby power line.

Doctors were forced to amputate his limbs. As he recovered in hospital, he saw a television documentary about a Channel swimmer and an ambition was born.

The father of two said he wanted to complete the challenge "for myself, my family and all my fellows in misfortune who have lost their taste for life."

Croizon trained for his feat for two years and last month completed a 12-hour swim between the ports of Noirmoutier and Pornic on France's Atlantic coast.