• France's news in English
 

Limbless swimmer finds stolen wheelchair

Published: 13 Aug 2013 08:14 GMT+02:00

Limbless French adventurer Philippe Croizon, known for his feats of swimming and diving, said on Monday his custom-designed wheelchair has been found after he reported it stolen while he was on holiday in northern France.

Croizon, famed as the first quadruple amputee to swim across the English Channel, said the driver of a bus for handicapped people found the wheelchair in a parking lot on Friday and took it for safekeeping not knowing who the owner was.

"He only called me on Monday evening to tell me about it, after watching a report on this case" on French television, Croizon told AFP.

"Thursday morning I'll be at the police station in Dieppe to get my wheelchair back," an elated Croizon, 45, told BFM television.

"It's a big, big relief … All's well that end's well."

Later on he posted a message on Twitter: "A special thought to all my disabled friends who are struggling today without a wheelchair. Let's not forget them."

The athlete had reported the theft of the wheelchair and its trailer, which he discovered missing on Friday morning while staying with friends near Dieppe.

"I feel sad and angry," he told AFP earlier. "Let them keep the trailer if they want, but at least give back the wheelchair."

Croizon, 45, said the high-tech, all-terrain wheelchair was brand-new and had been designed specially for him.

“It’s not just my electric wheelchair they’ve nicked,” Croizon told French daily Le Parisien on Sunday.

“They also stole my independence, and without that I’m nothing,” he added.

SEE ALSO: Thieves 'stole from victims of train crash'

On Monday, he lamented on Twitter and in the French media, that it had taken him a year to procure the special all-terrain wheelchair, and that friends of his had helped him pay €24,000 for it.

Furthermore, Croizon took the opportunity to point out that France’s social security system reimbursed him just €3,000 for the crucial equipment, despite the fact that “on average, an electric wheelchair costs about €10,000.”

Croizon began his extraordinary endurance swimming career just two years before his Channel swim, and in January becoming the first quadruple amputee to complete a 33-metre (100-foot) dive.

Between April and August 2012, Croizon once again made history when, along with long-distance swimmer Arnaud Chassery, he swam four straits between five continents.

The two completed the astonishing set of swims by crossing the Bering Strait between the US state of Alaska, and Russia.

The Frenchman braved strong currents and near-freezing temperatures in a roughly four kilometre swim between the US island of Little Diomede and Big Diomede in Russia that he said took about one hour and 20 minutes.

"This was the hardest swim of my life, with a water temperature of four degrees Celsius and strong currents," the deeply moved Croizon told AFP after reaching the Russian island.

"We made it," Croizon told AFP.

“Everything is possible, everything can be done when you have the will to go beyond yourself. We're all equal, disabled and non-disabled people on all continents," he concluded.

SEE ALSO: Thieves abduct widow, aged 85, from Paris street

Croizon had been a steel worker by trade, until he was electrocuted in March 1994 while working at his house in Saint Remy-sur-Creuse in central France.

He was forced to have both arms and legs amputated in the aftermath of the horrific accident.

The following is footage of Croizon completely his extraordinary cross-Channel swim in September 2010, from MSNBC.

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

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
People enjoy the sun by the seaside on a beach in the French Mediterranean resort of Argeles-sur-Mer, southern France. Photo: AFP

France eyes boost to holiday leave rights

Most new employees at French firms have to work for at least a year before they can take paid holidays but that could be about to change if one group of MPs have their way. READ  

Migrant electrocuted on Eurostar train in Paris
The man was electrocuted at the Gare du Nord station in Paris. Photo: Hugh Llewelyn/Flickr)

Migrant electrocuted on Eurostar train in Paris

A migrant was electrocuted on Wednesday while on the top of the roof of a London-bound Eurostar train at the Gare du Nord station in Paris. READ  

Calais migrants' crisis
Calais chaos sees France beef up police presence
Police and migrants in a standoff near the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais. Photo: AFP

Calais chaos sees France beef up police presence

After 1,500 desperate migrants tried to enter England through the Channel Tunnel on Tuesday night, French authorities have sent an extra 120 police officers to Calais. READ  

French firefighters called in for rogue python
The snake, a ball python, was taken away by the fire brigade. File photo: Batwrangler/Flickr

French firefighters called in for rogue python

Firefighters had to be called in to an apartment block in southern France after rattled residents found a python on the loose in the lobby. READ  

Disneyland Paris rejects overcharging claims
Taking the Mickey? Does Disneyland overcharge foreign customers? Photo: CetusCetus/Flickr

Disneyland Paris rejects overcharging claims

UPDATED: Disneyland Paris on Wednesday denied allegations that it overcharges customers from certain countries a day after the European Commission said it had launched a probe. READ  

French dating sites 'not protecting client privacy'
Users of online dating sites hand over data on everything from political beliefs to sexual preferences. File photo: AFP

French dating sites 'not protecting client privacy'

French dating sites have been taken to task for not doing enough to protect "intimate" data provided by their clients. READ  

Fifa corruption scandal
France's Platini to stand for Fifa presidency
Will Michel Platini replace Sepp Blatter as the head of Fifa? Photo: AFP

France's Platini to stand for Fifa presidency

UPDATED: Uefa boss Michel Platini is to stand as a candidate for the presidency of world football's governing body, Fifa, Uefa announced on Wednesday. READ  

Fêtes de Bayonnes
The Bayonne festival: France's wildest party
Festival goers in Bayonne - a sea of red and white. Photo: AFP

The Bayonne festival: France's wildest party

One of France's most famous festivals kicks off on Wednesday and promises to be as wild and raucous as ever. We take a closer look at the Fêtes de Bayonne to find out why everyone needs to go at least once. READ  

France and Iran
Hollande invites Iranian president to visit Paris
French president François Hollande seen here shaking hands with Hassan Rohani. Photo: AFP

Hollande invites Iranian president to visit Paris

French president François Hollande has invited his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani to visit Paris in November in what would be an historic trip if the invitation is accepted. READ  

Birkin: 'Take my name off Hermes crocodile bag'
Jane Birkin and one of the Birkin Croco handbags. Photo: AFP

Birkin: 'Take my name off Hermes crocodile bag'

British singer Jane Birkin has asked the French luxury manufacturer Hermes to remove her name from its crocodile-skin handbag after learning of the "cruel" methods used to make the iconic accessory. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
International
Why French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Ten ideas that could improve the quality of life in Paris
National
Rules for taking selfies at the Eiffel Tower: No.1 Keep your clothes on
National
Paris's trendy Canal Saint-Martin is now more tip than hip
National
Westeros is coming: Paris to welcome Game of Thrones exhibition
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

3,582
jobs available