Deadly jellyfish scupper swimmer's epic crossing

 

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Her face and lips swollen from Portuguese man o' war stings, marathon swimmer Diana Nyad was nursing her wounds yesterday after being forced to abandon her Cuba to Florida swim.

Ms Nyad quit after 40 hours swimming in waters infested with sharks, barracudas and man o' wars - jellyfish-like creatures with long, stinging tentacles. She had been warned that another sting could be deadly.

"It's such a bitter pill. I am so capable of that swim. That's the end, though," Ms Nyad said.

Wearing a white bathrobe, the 62-year-old pushed up the sleeves to show a long, red, cross-shaped welt on her right forearm.

"Those damned jellyfish," she said. The man o' war tentacles swept across her "like something out of a sci-fi movie". She kept swimming even as she felt paralysis stiffening her back, she said, because visions of Florida kept her going. "I'm only human and I'm allowed to say I'm mad that it turned out this way, I'm very disappointed," she added.

Ms Nyad was making her second attempt at the Cuba to Florida crossing. A bid in August fell short 29 hours in when Ms Nyad had an 11-hour asthma attack she blamed on a bad reaction to medicine. AP

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