A 34-year-old London man was stopped by French lifeguards trying to swim over 3,500 miles to America from the French Atlantic coastal town of Biarritz on Saturday.

“It’s a bit of a crazy story,” gendarme Laurent Saintespes said. But the incident could have turned to tragedy, he pointed out, since the man had no special equipment and appears to have had no idea of the scale of the task he had set himself.

At 3.30 pm lifeguards noticed that a swimmer had gone beyond the 300-metre limit set by their rules. “They lost sight of him and called us for help,” Saintespes said. The gendarmes sent a helicopter after him and lowered a diver to speak to him.

“Our diver explained that swimming to America was not a good idea,” Saintespes said. “He replied that he was a good swimmer and was in good condition.” A lifeguards’ paddleboard arrived at the same time and the man, realising that he was perhaps making a mistake, agreed to be accompanied back to shore.

His rescuers describe him as “naïve”.

Man%2Bswimming%2Bfrom%2BFrance%2Bto%2BUS British man stopped from swimming to America from France

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British man stopped from swimming to America from France