Skip to main content

Jellyfish sting stops Australian's swim to Florida

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1122 GMT (1922 HKT)
Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel dives from Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday.
Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel dives from Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chloe McCardel will spend 24 hours recuperating, a spokesman says
  • The endurance swimmer prematurely ended her journey after a jellyfish sting
  • Her goal had been to set a world record for the longest unassisted swim

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- A jellyfish sting has stopped an Australian endurance swimmer, just 11 hours into her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida.

Chloe McCardel was forced to end her journey prematurely "due to a severe debilitating jellyfish sting," a spokesman said in a statement.

The swimmer was on a boat heading toward Key West on Wednesday night, spokesman Tim Stackpool said.

"She will spend the next 24 hours recuperating before deciding on her plans going forward," he said.

Dangerous world record swim
2012: Looking back on the 'Xtreme Dream'

Earlier Wednesday, McCardel -- slathered in a thick coat of sunscreen -- lept into the waters off Havana to begin her daunting 100-mile swim across the Florida Straits.

Her goal was to set a world record for the longest unassisted swim. Before diving in, McCardel said she expected her marathon swim through shark- and jellyfish-infested waters to take 60 hours.

"I think it will all work out well," said McCardel, 28. "It will be tough though; it's not going to be an easy ride. But we will get through it as a team."

The attempt cost around $150,000 to finance, McCardel said earlier. She said she hoped to raise money for cancer research and try to improve U.S.-Cuba relations.

Each stroke the Australian swimmer took was monitored by teammates in two boats escorting her and by scientists at three universities in the United States.

But other than liquid meals handed to her in a bottle every half-hour by a kayacker paddling near her, McCardel said she would not receive help during the long-distance swim and not use any swim aids such as flippers or a wet suit.

In 1997, fellow Australian Susie Maroney swam the straits from inside a shark cage.

Since then, several high-profile attempts to cross the Florida Straits without a shark cage have been attempted. All have failed.

McCardel said she would use "a shark shield" device that emits an electromagnetic pulse to keep away hungry predators. But forgoing a full body suit made her more exposed to jellyfish stings.

Diana Nyad abandons swim after storm, jellyfish stings

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT