PARIS: A Frenchman who lost all of his limbs braved hot weather on Thursday to swim across the Red Sea from Egypt's Taba to Aqaba in Jordan as part of a global challenge.
Using prosthetic limbs with flippers attached, Philippe Croizon, 44, left Taba 0630 GMT and arrived in Aqaba 1150 GMT.
"I am very happy that I have made it. It is a great feeling to swim between Africa and Asia," Croizon told AFP.
French swimmer Arnaud Chassery as well as two disabled Jordanians, Mohammad Smadi and Mohammad Sawaai, accompanied Croizon throughout the challenge.
"We are all sunburned. We had to drink loads of water. It was very very hot and the sun was blazing. But the sea was calm and nice," said Croizon, wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh head scarf.
"I think we swam 15 or 20 kilometres (nine or 12 miles). We did not swim in a straight line in order to avoid some strong currents."
Four Jordanian boats accompanied the swimmer and Croizon's team and French embassy officials received him ashore.
"Bravo, bravo," they chanted when Croizon arrived.
He said "obtaining authorisation from the Egyptian side was difficult. We had to sign tonnes of documents."
"But thank God, we have achieved our goal at this stage, proving that there is no difference between a disabled swimmer and a normal swimmer."
He had initially planned to swim the Red Sea stretch last Friday but postponed the trip over bad weather.
Croizon, who swam the English Channel in 2010, has set out on his aquatic journey across the globe to highlight the abilities of disabled people, and to convey a message of peace and solidarity.
On May 17, he swam from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, in the first part of a mission to complete five arduous swims between continents.
He had to have all four limbs amputated after he was electrocuted by a current of more than 20,000 volts in 1994 as he tried to remove a TV antenna from a roof.
In July, he plans to swim between Europe and Africa by traversing the Strait of Gibraltar. And in August, he will swim between the islands of Big Diomede in Russia and Little Diomede in the United States. -- AGENCIES