Quadruple amputee swims English Channel
PARIS — A Frenchman whose arms and legs were amputated swam across the English Channel this weekend using leg prostheses that have flippers attached.
Philippe Croizon, 42, had expected the tough crossing to take up to 24 hours — instead, he finished in 13 1/2.
“I did it, I’m happy, I’m so happy, I can’t believe it, it’s crazy,’’ he told France-Info radio, sounding giddy on arrival late Saturday.
Three dolphins joined him for a while. “We took that as a sign of good luck,’’ said Gerard Croizon, the swimmer’s father.
Croizon set off from Folkestone on the British side of the English Channel and arrived near the French town of Wissant. At the narrowest point, the crossing is about 21 miles.
Croizon’s specially designed leg prostheses, which end in flippers, allow him to propel himself through the water. His truncated upper arms go through the motions of the crawl, and he breathes through a snorkel.
The swimmer lost his arms and legs after suffering an electric shock in 1994 as he stood on a ladder adjusting his television antenna, which touched a power line.
Croizon made headlines in 2007 for parachuting from an airplane. He wrote a book about his experiences called “J’ai decide de vivre’’ (“I decided to live.’’)
The French minister for families, Nadine Morano, congratulated Croizon on his latest accomplishment, and hailed his “exemplary courage and sporting performance.’’
“We’ve been shown that it’s possible to overcome your disabilities and have the determination to make your dreams come true,’’ she added. “Philippe Croizon is a shining example who provides a message of hope and bravery for all the French and the young people of our country.’’