US swimmer Diana Nyad halts Cuba to Florida attempt

Diane Nyad: ''The first sting erupted... as I started to touch them, fire, and then chills all over"

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A 62-year-old US woman has had to halt her latest attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to the US without a shark cage.

Her face swollen by jellyfish stings, Diana Nyad was pulled from the water early on Tuesday, her team said.

She had hoped to reach Florida on Tuesday, a day ahead of her 63rd birthday. But overnight, her team said they had been held up by a squall.

This was her fourth attempt at the 103-mile (166-km) swim in 35 years.

She was pulled from the water at about an hour after midnight, her team reported, as thunderstorms and strong winds buffeted the swimmer and her support boats.

Earlier, her team's blog said Ms Nyad had been brought aboard at 07:42 local time (11:42 GMT). The reason for the time discrepancy was unclear.

'Bear of a swim'

In a subsequent blog post Ms Nyad said: "When can I get back in? I want full transparency that I was out. But I have plenty left in me and I want to go on."

Crew member Candace Hogan said: "She realised that the obstacles against this swim were too great and agreed at dawn to return to Key West by boat."

In this handout image, Diana Nyad rests after being pulled out of the water between Cuba and the Florida Keys early on Tuesday 21 August 2012 Diana Nyad rests after being pulled out of the wate

Earlier on Tuesday her team said that she was 55 miles (89km) off the coast of Key West, Florida.

She swam for longer and covered more distance than in her previous tries, they said, adding she had been in the water for more than 41 hours on this attempt.

Ms Nyad had been repeatedly stung by jellyfish during the swim. Her tongue and lips had swollen overnight due to exposure to salt water.

She first tried to complete the crossing in 1978.

A second attempt in 2011 had to be called off because of shoulder pain and an asthma attack. Later the same year, jellyfish stings ended her third bid at the crossing.

Before setting off on her latest effort, Ms Nyad said last week: "I just don't want to spend the rest of my life trying and failing and trying and failing this, but it's a bear of a swim.

"I would hate to stand here again with you next year and say, 'Well, didn't make it again.'"

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