Friday 19 January 2018

Woman dies attempting to swim the English Channel for charity

Rob Williams

A woman has died after getting into 'serious difficulties' while attempting to swim the English channel for charity, French police have said today.

According to reports Susan Taylor,  a 34-year-old accountant, ran into difficulties as she neared the end of the 21-mile crossing yesterday.

Rescuers were called to the support team boat that was accompanying Ms Taylor at Wissant Bay, near Cap de Gris-Naz, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and a traditional finish point for swimmers crossing the channel.

She was rescued at around 5.30pm. A police source in Boulogne-sur-Mer told the Telegraph: “She was swimming from Britain, and was well supported.”

Ms Taylor was attempting the swim on one of the hottest days of the year, with water temperatures reaching 15C and with a 9kph wind.

She was raising money for Diabetes UK and Rainbows, an East Midlands children’s hospice.

French newspaper La Voix du Nord said she was treated on board a French Navy Pathfinder helicopter and was taken to hospital in Boulogne where she died at around 19.15.

According to reports Ms Taylor was crossing the channel under the guidance of the Channel Swimming Association.

The tragedy comes almost exactly a year after the death of Irish swimmer Paraic Casey, a 45-year-old wildlife park worker from Co Cork, who was attempting the swim to raise money for two charities.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are aware of the death of a British National in Boulogne on the 14 July 2013.

"We are in touch with the family and are offering consular assistance."

Swimming the channel remains a difficult challenge with some figures suggesting the success rate is just 10%.  Yesterday's death brings to eight the number of people who have died attempting to swim the channel unassisted.

Captain Matthew Webb made the first unassisted swim across the Strait of Dover in 1875.

Independent News Service

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