• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

British woman dies in cross-Channel swim

The Local/AFP · 15 Jul 2013, 14:13

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.

Story continues below…

"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
Where property prices have risen most in France
Photo: AFP

You might just have been priced out of the market if you're looking to buy in Bordeaux.

Official Paris refugee camps to open end of September
Photo: AFP

Will this see an end to the squalid makeshift camps that spring up across the city?

Paris Metro takes on 'air hostesses' to promote safety
Photo: RATP/Screenshot

Did you see the "air hostesses" on the Metro this week?

Paris region doubles security budget for schools
Photo: AFP

France is prioritizing the protection of schools amid a heightened terror threat.

All you need to know about changes in French schools
All photos: AFP

School's back tomorrow, with a raft of new changes. Here's what you need to know.

Emmanuel Macron the next French president - Really?
Emmanuel Macron: The next French president? Photo: AFP

Can the 38-year-old maverick and former Rothschild banker really become the president of France in eight months' time?

€50 million of coke found in Coke factory in France
File photos: Owen Blacker/Flickr and Adrian Scottow/Flickr

Employees have sniffed out 370kg of coke in a French Coke factory.

Morocco's king drains water supply from French villages
King Mohamed VI of Morocco. Photo: AFP

King in town + 300-strong entourage = no drinking water for a French village.

Macron vows 'to transform France from next year'
Photo: AFP

Ex-Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron sets his sights on the presidency albeit without saying so.

French PM suggests naked breasts represent France
A statue of Marianne at the Place de la Republique in Paris, with her left breast on show. Photo: AFP

Just as the burqini ban furore was dying down French PM Manuel Valls has stirred things up again for suggesting naked breasts were a stronger symbol of the Republic than a Muslim headscarf.

Culture
16 things you almost certainly didn't know about France
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Politics
Emmanuel Macron: The whizzkid who could shake up French politics
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
2,751
jobs available