x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

US distance swimmer Diana Nyad abandons Cuba-Florida bid

Distance swimmer Diana Nyad abandoned her fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida yesterday after battling lightning storms and swarms of jellyfish for more than two days.

MIAMI // Distance swimmer Diana Nyad abandoned her fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida yesterday after battling lightning storms and swarms of jellyfish for more than two days.

The 62-year-old began the 166-kilometre swim across the Florida Straits on Saturday, hoping to become the first person to make the journey without a protective shark cage.

But at 7.42am local time, the decision was made to pull her from the water during a severe thunderstorm that her crew said made it dangerous for her and the shark divers accompanying her to remain in the water.

"Diana is doing as well as someone who just spent 62 hours doing something monumental and extremely dangerous ... would feel," said Mark Sollinger, the director of operations for the swim.

He said her face was swollen from jellyfish stings and she was being treated for exhaustion. He estimated the remainder of the swim would have taken another 20 to 40 hours.