BRUSSELS - Limbless adventurer Philippe Croizon became the world's first quadruple amputee Thursday to complete a 33-metre (100-foot) dive to the bottom of the world's deepest swimming-pool in the Belgian capital, Brussels.
"It was huge, an intense moment of happiness," the Frenchman said after touching bottom accompanied by more than a dozen divers aged between 63 and 86.
"Between us we're 1,000 years old and have done 35,000 dives in all the world's seas," said Paul Sobol, 86.
"We wanted to show that diving was a great sport that was accessible to people of any age from eight years up, and even to the severely handicapped," Croizon added.
Croizon, a former metal-worker, had all four limbs amputated in 1994 from the elbows and knees after being struck by an electric shock of more than 20,000 volts as he tried to remove a TV antenna from a roof.
He was at his home in Saint-Rémy-sur-Creuse, Vienne, when while standing on a metal ladder on the roof to work on a television antenna, Croizon received a severe electric shock from a high-voltage power line which earthed (grounded) through the ladder. He became adhered to the ladder and twenty minutes passed before a neighbour could raise the alarm.
He was hospitalized in Tours, where doctors removed his left arm above the elbow, his right arm below the elbow, then his right leg above the knee. Surgeons had thought that the left leg could be saved, but when that also required removal, Croizon reported feeling "despair".
During his recuperation in the hospital, he saw a television programme about a female channel-swimmer, who Croizon said inspired him. He began a regimen of swimming, training for over five hours per day with the Maritime Gendarmerie, the French marine police, in the sea near La Rochelle.
Achieving the impossible
Achieving the impossible
He experimented with different prosthetic limbs designed for swimming, with fins attached to the stumps of his legs. One set of specially designed prosthetics cost €12,000 (S$19,608), and are made from carbon and titanium.
From there, he decided to make history by becoming the first quadruple amputee to cross the 21-mile English Channel in 13.5 hours in 2010. He then set his sights on swimming across four intercontinental channels that link the world’s five continents of Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa, and America - and succeeded.
The final leg of the arduous journey was the Bering Strait, which is the shortest of the four swims but the toughest as Croizon has to swim through three degree Celsius water, six foot swells and heavy fog, The Daily Mail UK reported.
The 44-year-old, who had never swum before, is only the second person to swim the Bering Strait.
In his latest feat, the 44-year-old used huge flippers attached to prosthetic limbs to swim.
Another diver guided him down to the bottom of Nemo 33, a private pool used by divers from the world over since it was opened in 2004.
"I was a bit aprehensive at first but once I touched bottom I didn't want to come up," he said.
His latest exploit in August was a swim between islands in the icy Bering Strait to cross from America to Asia in the final part of a quest to link all continents.
His next challenge will be to swim one of the world's highest lakes, Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia.
Additional information added in by YourHealth, AsiaOne. Click through the gallery below for full story on his amazing feats: