Susan Taylor dies swimming 35km from Dover to France: Suddenly collapsed during charity swim

Published 15 July 2013  |  
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British swimmer Susan Taylor has died after attempting to swim across the English Channel.

Taylor, 34, suddenly died while she was swimming from Dover to France on Sunday. She was just one mile off the French Coast.

The ambitious swimmer from Barwell, Leicestershire, is said to have collapsed suddenly just off the French coast. Rescue teams and paramedics rushed to her aide at around 5:30 p.m. in the area of Wissant bay, near Cap de Griz-Naz, and she was treated on board before she was airlifted to hospital. She was later pronounced dead at the hospital in Boulogne-sur-Mer at 7.15p.m.

Taylor was swimming across the English Channel to raise money for Rainbows Children's Hospice and Diabetes UK. She had previously swum across the channel with a team of six and had raised over $4,500 just prior to her swim on Sunday.

After finishing her first swim, she had told Hinckley Times: "I am delighted to have achieved my next step in training for a solo channel crossing next year. Although I had a difficult first swim and found it hard going, knowing the charities I am raising money for, the support of my friends and family and the rest of the team looking on, I had to just keep going.

"I was lucky enough to follow the final swimmer on the rocks and this was a very special moment. Unfortunately there was not a beach to collect a pebble so I will have to collect this on my solo swim. The swim has highlighted that I have a lot of training to do and the channel tides and weather have such an influence on the succeeding but I am determined I will do it."

Rainbow Hospice chief executive Geoff Ellis told BBC: "Susan was a wonderful woman who would do anything for anybody. She has been a much loved ambassador at Rainbows for over two years, helping out at events and tirelessly fundraising for us. She was more than an ambassador; she was part of the Rainbows family."

Taylor's father Arthur Wright said: "I'm devastated. I've lost the best person in the world. She was just wonderful."

Taylor's sister posted a message on Facebook:

"Whilst attempting to swim the English Channel yesterday my sister, Susan collapsed suddenly in the water.'She was immediately recovered from the water and treated on the support boat. She was then air lifted by helicopter to a hospital in Boulonge. Susan tragically passed away.

"Thank you for your messages of support. Please respect the families privacy whilst they come to terms with what has happened. If you would like to leave a sign of respect please feel free to donate to her fund raising page."

Taylor was an accountant and her husband Stephen was on the boat alongside her during her swim. He was also her coach. Taylor's brother David, a paramedic, was also on the boat at the time of her swim, and battled to save her when she collapsed.

Channel Swimming Association released a statement:

"She was known and loved by so many including those at the CSA of whom many knew her personally,' the group said in a statement.'Susan was raising money for Rainbows for her Channel solo swim and trained so hard. We extend our sympathy and thoughts to her family and friends at this very sad time.

"We have been asked by the family not to comment further. We will respect their wishes. Such a tragic loss under valiant circumstances."

The English Channel is 35km wide and the tides are said to be very strong at its narrowest point.

This is not the first death for someone who has attempted to swim the channel.

Last year, 45-year-old Paraic Casey died after swimming for 16 hours. He was suddenly taken ill and was pronounced dead after attempts to resuscitate him.

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