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Video of French quadruple amputee completing Bering Strait swim

Ben Anderson
YouTube

Philippe Croizon, a man who had all four of his limbs amputated in the wake of a 1994 electrical accident but has since swam the English Channel and three other major water crossings, obviously isn't one to let anything get in his way. So when a paperwork breakdown halted his ambition to swim the cold waters of the Bering Strait between Alaska's Little Diomede and the Russian island of Big Diomede, he figured he'd hop in anyway.

And so, on Friday, Croizon joined a relatively small number of swimmers who have braved the frigid waters of the Bering Strait and reached the international dateline, the water border that also marks the border between Alaska and Russia. He was forced to stop there, since local authorities who oversee Big Diomede wouldn't grant permission for Croizon to make landfall there.

It took Croizon about one hour and 20 minutes to hit the mark, when a whistle signified the end of the road for his Bering Strait ambitions. Croizon had estimated he would only be able to stay in the water for about two hours, due to the thinness of his wetsuit.

Still, it didn't stop him from smiling and even conducting a brief interview as he was held alongside the boat, still mostly submerged in waters averaging below 40 degrees even in the summer months. It's untranslated, but you can see the interview and portions of Croizon's swim in the video below.

Croizon, who had previously swam between four other continents, crossed a fifth off his list, despite the abbreviated attempt. Croizon and his swimming partner, able-bodied Arnaud Chassery, counted the swim among the most difficult they'd ever attempted. Croizon swims with the help of specially designed prosthetic flippers that attach to what remains of his legs.

"It was the hardest swim of my life, I had never made ​​such an effort before," Croizon said, according to Handicap International, an aid organization that he was swimming as a representative of. "Between huge waves and fog... I feel a real sense of pride."