• France edition
 
Limbless swimmer finds stolen wheelchair
Philippe Croizon, who was the first quadruple amputee swimmer to swim the Channel. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Limbless swimmer finds stolen wheelchair

Published: 13 Aug 2013 08:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 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
Woman, 76, raped 'for telling youths to be quiet'
A 76-year-old woman was brutally raped in retaliation for telling some men to quiet down. Photo: AFP

Woman, 76, raped 'for telling youths to be quiet'

After a 76-year-old woman told a group of young men to quiet down outside her apartment building near Paris, they retaliated by brutally raping her and then looting her home, according to reports in France. READ  

French workers threaten to blow up factory
Workers at a vacuum factory in France have threatened to blow it up. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

French workers threaten to blow up factory

With boss-napping apparently a passé option, French workers angry over planned layoffs at a vacuum factory have threatened to blow up the plant where they work. READ  

Paris to unveil new app to help find a taxi
Paris has created a new app that is meant to make finding a cab a bit easier. Photo: AFP

Paris to unveil new app to help find a taxi

Paris will roll out its brand new smartphone app on Wednesday which is supposed to make the sometimes impossible task of hailing a taxi in the French capital a little easier. But will it be of any use? READ  

French pharmacies shut up shop in protest
It'll likely be harder than usual to find an open pharmacy in France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

French pharmacies shut up shop in protest

All but a handful of pharmacies in France will be closed on Tuesday as part of a nationwide strike against government plans to weaken the monopolies held by self-employed professionals like lawyers, doctors and notaries. READ  

Champions League
PSG will play to win against Barcelona: Blanc
PSG coach Laurent Blanc says his side will stick to their footballing principles against Barcelona. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

PSG will play to win against Barcelona: Blanc

PSG coach Laurent Blanc said his team will play to win against Spanish giants Barcelona when they meet in the Champions League Group F clash in Paris on Tuesday. Blanc's side however will have to do without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic. READ  

Guest blog - French tax breaks
'Starting a company in France is not that taxing'
Setting up a company in France might not mean the tax burden that you had imagined. Photo: Shutterstock

'Starting a company in France is not that taxing'

The words "France" and "taxes" are as synonymous as "pain" and "chocolat" but when it comes to setting up a company in the country, guest blogger Katya Puyraud, from Euro Start Entreprises says things are not as bad as they seem at first. And the paperwork is a positive! READ  

French public debt rises above €2,000,000,000,000
France's public debt has now passed the two trillion mark, officially. Photo: AFP

French public debt rises above €2,000,000,000,000

The depressing figures for the French economy just keep on coming. On Tuesday it was revealed that the country's public debt had passed the symbolic two trillion mark. In real numbers that's €2,000,000,000,000. READ  

IN IMAGES - Floods
South of France hit by devastating floods
The southern French city of Montpellier has been left under water by the floods. Photo: Sylvain Thomas/AFP

South of France hit by devastating floods

Parts of southern France were once again hit by devastating floods on Monday that left the city of Montpellier under water and a state of natural disaster declared in around 60 towns and villages. Here are some videos and images. READ  

French cops struggle to catch speeding Brit
A British driver got caught going really fast on a French motorway and he's not the first. Photo: AFP

French cops struggle to catch speeding Brit

It took French cops a full 10 kilometres to catch up to a Briton as he cruised along at 219 km/h on a motorway this weekend. He's done nothing to improve the speed demon rep of British drivers in France. READ  

Southern France put on maximum storm alert
Nasty storms in southern France have prompted the country's top weather warning. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Southern France put on maximum storm alert

French meteorologists have issued a red alert - the maximum warning - to residents in southern France due to heavy storms and the threat of flash flooding. Four people were killed in raging flood waters in the same area two weeks ago. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
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