• France's news in English
 

British woman dies in cross-Channel swim

Published: 15 Jul 2013 09:42 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jul 2013 14:13 GMT+02:00

Despite rescue efforts she was later pronounced dead in a French hospital.

The woman has been named as Susan Taylor.A British woman, believed to be aged 34, died on Sunday evening after attempting to swim across the English Channel from Britain to France to raise money for charity.

At around 5:30pm French rescue officials were called out to a boat that was accompanying the British swimmer in the area of Wissant bay, near Cap de Gris-Naz, close to the French coast.

The woman has been named as Susan Taylor (pictured above), from Barwell, in Leicestershire. 

Her sister broke the tragic news on Taylor's Facebook page on Monday morning.

"Whilst attempting to swim the English Channel yesterday my sister, Susan collapsed suddenly in the water. She was immediately recovered from the water and treated on the support boat.

"She was then air lifted by helicopter to a hospital in Boulonge. Susan tragically passed away.

"Thank you for your messages of support. Please respect the family's privacy whilst they come to terms with what has happened. If you would like to leave a sign of respect please feel free to donate to her fund raising page."

According to French regional newspaper La Voix du Nord her support team on the boat had radioed urgently asking for a defibrillator.

The weather conditions were not bad in the area with the wind blowing around 9km/h and the water temperature at 15°C according to French maritime authorities.

According to her online charity fundraising page, Taylor had raised almost £3,000 ($4,500) for the Rainbows children's hospice, and a further £2,200 for Diabetes UK.

Donations continued to pour in after her death.

On the website, Taylor described swimming the Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, as akin to scaling Everest.

"Less than 1,000 people have completed the 21-mile (34-kilometre) cross-Channel swim, whereas over 3,000 have conquered the world's tallest mountain," she wrote.

"Only one in ten people who train for the Channel actually complete it."

The Local understands Taylor was trying to cross the Channel under the guidance of the Channel Swimming Association, one of the two official British organizations who can officially authorize the cross-Channel swims.

The other organization is the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CS&PF).

Secretary of the CS&PF Kevin Murphy was shocked and saddened to hear of Taylor's death on Monday.

"I was involved in helping this woman prepare for the swim. I was actually called by the French coast guard last night but they didn't tell me what had happened, they just wanted a number for the boat that was accompanying her," Murphy told The Local.

"It is incredibly sad," he said, adding: "She had been our friend on the beach training in Dover and everyone's cut up about it because she was such a lovely, nice lady."

The regulations on cross-Channel swimming were very strict Murphy said, adding that Taylor would have had to pass medical checks before being granted permission to attempt to swim the Channel.

"They have to be seen by a doctor, who decides whether or not they are fit to swim the Channel. Anyone hoping to attempt it also has to undertake a six-hour preparation swim which has to be observed by one of the official organizations," Murphy said. "The boats that accompany the swimmers are also subject to safety checks."

Sunday's tragedy comes almost exactly year after Irish swimmer Paraic Casey, also lost his life trying to swim from Britain to France. Despite the two deaths in a year Murphy says tragic incidents of this kind are extremely rare.

"It is an extreme sport but the safety record of cross-Channel swimming is much better than most other extreme sports. I think since the crossing was first achieved in 1875 there have been around six or seven fatalities.

"There's no other extreme sport that can match that safety record. That is because there are so many safety procedures in place."

Murphy said that, between the two British associations, around 350 people will be involved in swimming the Channel each year, whether as part of a relay team or as a solo swimmer.

France forbids any attempt to swim the Channel starting from its side of the La Manche due to the dangers posed by heavy maritime traffic and potentially hazardous weather conditions.

The Channel Swimmers Association were not available for comment when contacted by The Local.

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Susan Taylor you can visit her charity fundraising page by clicking HERE.

(The letter A marks Cap de Gris-Nez, where the British swimmer got into trouble as she approached the French coast)

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French man calls in bomb alert to delay plane
Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

French man calls in bomb alert to delay plane

French police have arrested a man who called in a false bomb alert to an airport to delay his girlfriend's flight because she was in danger of missing it, prosecutors said on Sunday READ  

Cannes race wide open on eve of awards
Cate Blanchett in Cannes. Photo: Valery Haché/AFP

Cannes race wide open on eve of awards

The competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival wraps up Saturday with a clutch of favourites jockeying for one of global cinema's most coveted prizes. READ  

Waterloo: Why is it still taboo for the French?
A Waterloo reenactment. Photo: AFP

Waterloo: Why is it still taboo for the French?

France stood accused this week of "sulking" because it failed to nominate any high-ranking official to attend the gigantic commemoration for the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. READ  

France's cheapest holiday spots revealed
Holidayers in Nice, southern France. Photo: AFP

France's cheapest holiday spots revealed

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Paris is the most expensive region in France to spend a summer holiday... but where is the cheapest? A new study has found the answer. READ  

France pulls up sunken tyres from artificial reefs
The tyres are hauled up from the seabed. Photo: AFP

France pulls up sunken tyres from artificial reefs

Tourists and film stars hitting the beach at the French Riviera resort of Cannes may be blissfully unaware but lurking beneath the sparkling waves are tens of thousands of now troublesome scrap tyres, sunk deliberately to boost marine development. READ  

French films
The best French films you've never heard of
French actor Tahar Rahim in a scene from A Prophet. Photo: YouTube/Screengrab

The best French films you've never heard of

With the Cannes Film Festival nearing its end and with everyone talking about everything film - we take a look back at the best ten French movies you've probably never heard of, thanks to French cinema expert Judith Prescott. READ  

Tourism in Paris
Eiffel Tower shuts as staff protest pickpockets
Tourists at the France's iconic Eiffel Tower. Photo: AFP

Eiffel Tower shuts as staff protest pickpockets

The Eiffel Tower was closed on Friday morning, as workers protested over the scourge of pickpockets around the famous monument, who they say have threatened and attacked them. READ  

Paris couple found in flat with throats slit
Photo: AFP

Paris couple found in flat with throats slit

A woman, who was reportedly pregnant, was found dead with her throat slit in a Paris apartment on Friday while her partner was left in a critical condition. An electric sander was found running beside their bodies. READ  

Cannes Film Festival
Sophie Marceau: Queen of baring all at Cannes
Sophie Marceau is a member of the Feature Film jury this year at Cannes. Photo: AFP

Sophie Marceau: Queen of baring all at Cannes

French actress Sophie Marceau is surely the undisputed queen of the Cannes wardrobe malfunction after her plunging jacket gave photographers more than an eyeful once again this week. And it's not the first time she's given the paparazzi palpitations. READ  

Cameron to visit Paris to push for EU reform
UK PM David Cameron will hope to convince François Hollande that Britain should be allowed to renegotiate its relationship to the EU. Photo: AFP

Cameron to visit Paris to push for EU reform

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is to visit Paris next week as part of his charm offensive as he tries to persuade European leaders to allow Britain to renegotiate its ties with the EU, ahead of a planned In/Out referendum in the UK. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Take a tour of the best Metro stations that Paris has to offer
National
Soon there'll be a fixed fare for a taxi ride from the airport into Paris
National
Drug dealers in Marseille are offering customers loyalty cards
Soon there'll be no minimum for using your bank card in France
Features
Eurovision is around the corner - and we don't fancy France's chances
Features
Fancy starting a business and living in Paris? There's help available
National
Are you fearing a Brexit? Maybe it's time to become a French citizen
How hard-up French are tempted by money to take migrants to the UK
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Education
More English words (including 'le selfie') sneak into French
Charlie Hebdo to give €4.3m to attack victims
National
French Protestants bless gay marriage
Opinion
Why elitism is dragging France down
Features
RECIPE: How to make your own picnic-perfect meringues
Business & Money
French tax declaration deadline: Key things to remember
VIDEO: Can YOU pronounce the trickiest word in French?
France tops holiday wish list for children
National
Study: Women do bulk of housework in France
National
VIDEO: Police use force on Calais migrants
National
This man is France's Instagram king. But who else makes the top list?
Features
Free museum entry, film festivals, sports... see What's On this in May
Culture
Behind the curtain: A closer look at the Cannes Film Festival
National
It's a boy! Baby born on Air France flight to Paris
Features
Love-locked: Whatever happened to Paris's beautiful bridges?
'Forget the UK election, expats should be able to vote in France'
Thomas Piketty backs Miliband for Britain but not Hollande for France
Gallery
The most spectacular sunset pictures from around France
National
France tells migrants in Calais to 'forget the UK and stay here'
Who's to blame? Trial after Frenchman dies downing 56 shots
Society
VIDEO: See what's beneath the surface of the French Riviera
National
French teen suicide after sex video web bullying
France launches bid to buy Europe's biggest and most spectacular dune
Business & Money
Why May 2015 is the best month in years to work in France
Five great outdoor bars in Paris to check out this summer
Double standards? French Muslim barred from class over long skirt
National
France goes on the defensive after UN experts say 'racism is trivialised'
Five reasons we should be worried about France's new snooping laws
International
The French don't seem to care about the UK election and that's normal
Culture
Only in France? Naked comedian stuns French culture minister
Migrant camps spring up in the heart of Paris
International
France bags another fighter jet deal but should Paris thank the US?
Society
French elevator protocol: Greeting, flirting and yes, even sex
Travel
Getting from CDG airport to Paris by road should now be a lot quicker
Politics
Why all the dodgy ties? A French view of the UK general election
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se