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
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2212 GMT (0612 HKT)
From giant zippers to buttock-shaped balloons, Jun Kitagawa's public art is whimsical, erotic and playful.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0843 GMT (1643 HKT)
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0530 GMT (1330 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
Oscar Pistorius didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, the sprinter testified at his murder trial.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
A mysterious new artwork has appeared in Cheltenham, where Britain's version of the NSA is located.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
Like many parents across Liverpool, the McManamans waited. 25 years ago, it was all they could do.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Pop art condoms in Kenya
Packaging can change how people see things. And when it comes to sex, it could maybe help save lives too.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
mediterranean monk seal
Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0043 GMT (0843 HKT)
Ebola victims usually come from remote areas -- but now the lethal virus is in a city of two million.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT