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Limbless Frenchman plans Asia to Africa swim

AMMAN, June 11 – A Frenchman who has lost all of his limbs said on Monday he plans to swim 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) across the Red Sea from Taba in Egypt to Jordan’s Aqaba this week as part of a global challenge.

Using prosthetic limbs with flippers attached, Philippe Croizon, 44, said: “If things go as planned and I get the green light from the Egyptian authorities, I will swim from Asia to Africa on Friday.”

“I should leave Taba for Aqaba early in the morning (0300 GMT). This could take from 12 to 14 hours, depending on the weather, currents and wind,” Croizon told reporters at the French embassy in Amman.

“I hope the sharks will not be hungry.”

Croizon said French swimmer Arnaud Chassery, 34, and three disabled Jordanians plan to join him.

On May 17, Croizon braved strong winds and currents to swim from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, in the first stretch of a mission to swim between five continents.

“I know the situation in Egypt is still unstable. But it should not stop this humanitarian mission,” he said.

“I am here to show that disabled persons are sometimes gifted, regardless of differences like religion, politics and colour.”

Croizon, who swam the English Channel in 2010, has set out on his aquatic journey across the globe to highlight the abilities of disabled people, and to convey a message of peace and solidarity.

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He had to have all four limbs amputated after he was electrocuted by a current of more than 20,000 volts in 1994 as he tried to remove a TV antenna from a roof.

In July, he plans to swim between Europe and Africa by traversing the Strait of Gibraltar, braving busy shipping lanes and polluted waters.

The stretch is just 14 kilometres as the crow flies, but it means a 20- to 25-kilometre swim because of strong currents.
In August, he will swim between the islands of Big Diomede in Russia and Little Diomede in the United States in a round-trip swim of around 10 kilometres in frigid waters as low as zero degrees Celsius.


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