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Brit 'tried to swim from France to America'

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10:07 CEST+02:00
A 34-year-old Londoner has been plucked to safety on the French Atlantic coast after making an impromptu bid to swim across the Atlantic to New York.

The Londoner was apparently gripped by a sudden urge to spread the Olympian spirit across the globe, daily Paris Normandie reports.

The man set off from a beach in Biarritz in the south-west of France, saying he would swim all the way to New York in the US. Friends on the seaside joked that a boat would rescue him if he struggled to make it there.

Luckily French lifeguards spotted him beyond the 300m authorised limit for swimmers on Saturday afternoon.

They called out a helicopter and dropped a diver into the Ocean who tried to convince the man to abandon his trip to the US.

"Our diver told him swimming to the US was not a good idea," says captain Laurent Saintespes, a senior officer at the Biarritz airbase. "But he insisted he was a capable swimmer and felt fine."

"It’s quite a crazy story, but at a time when the Olympic Games are taking place in London you have to see the funny side of things," says Saintespes.

He adds however that the swimmer did take a lot of risks, swimming far out to sea with no equipment, facing large waves and dropping temperatures.

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