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Swimmer who died trying to cross the Channel was ‘doing what he loved best to the very end’

PUBLISHED: 13:48 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:48 08 August 2017

Search and rescue helicopter

Search and rescue helicopter

Archant

Douglas Waymark was airlifted to William Harvey Hospital, where he died on Monday night

A swimmer who died while trying to cross the Channel was “doing what he loved best to the very end”, his family have said.

Loved ones announced on social media on Tuesday that Douglas Waymark died in hospital after being rescued from the water by coastguard crews on Monday evening when he got into difficulty 12 miles off the coast of Dover.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Jo Ikel said: “For all those following the recent updates, Douglas Waymark has not completed his Channel swim.

“Last night he felt he could no longer continue his quest and swam to the boat supporting him.

“He passed out and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Ashford. At around midnight, he sadly died.

“We are all devastated but take comfort in him doing what he loved best to the very end.”

Mr Waymark, who is in his 40s, was attempting the Enduroman Arch 2 Arc Triathlon, a continuous running, cycling and swimming challenge from Marble Arch in London to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “Last night at around 9.20pm, UK Coastguard received a VHF Radio call from a support vessel reporting that a cross channel swimmer was in difficulty and needed assistance. The vessel was in French waters around 12 nautical miles from Dover.

“The UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lydd, which was training nearby, arrived on scene within 10 minutes and airlifted the swimmer to William Harvey Hospital, Ashford.”

Kent Police confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious and that a report will be prepared for the coroner.

In his own Facebook post last Thursday, Mr Waymark said: “It’s an 87 mile run to Dover, swim the Channel and then cycle the 182 mile to Paris (If you say it quickly it sounds easy).

“This will arguably be the toughest thing I have ever attempted just 25 people have completed it and of the last six attempts none have been successful.

“When I actually start is vey weather dependant but I am hoping to get going on Friday night [or in the] early hours of Saturday assuming there will be a swim window on Sunday.”

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