Category: Media & Culture / January 10, 2013 2:15 PM EST
A French swimmer who lacks legs and arms successfully dived through a 33-meter deep tunnel in Brussels on Thursday (January 10), setting a new record in disabled diving, at the world's deepest indoors diving swimming tank.
Philippe Croizon, whose limbs were amputated after a 1994 electrical accident at age 26, completed his latest underwater achievement with the aide of paddle-like prosthetics with flippers attached and with the help of a group of 15 senior experienced divers.
Before taking the plunge, the French athlete said he was very proud to be taking on this challenge in the company of such experienced divers who can boast of collectively having 33.000 dives.
"To dive with them, it's going to be a pretty amazing world record. And this is proof that diving is for both older and disabled people too, without any problem. I'm the only disabled person in the group, that means that disabled and non-disabled is all the same," he told Reuters.
Although Croizon's specialized prostheses allow him to propel himself through water, his fellow divers assisted him through the descent and shared his moment of glory.
"To unfold the world record banner down there was a moment of sheer happiness. Like I said, I've dived with a good number of people and we always look at each other in the eye, but I had never seen so many hands up, everybody had a smile on their faces. A moment of sheer happiness," he told reporters.
Many curious viewers avidly followed Croizon's dive as the diving tank is located in a restaurant that has windows overlooking it.
The quadruple amputee athlete also uses paddle-like prosthetics to swim, and has crossed the English Channel, the Red Sea and other major waterways. He has also made headlines after parachuting from an airplane and has written a book about his experiences called "J'ai decide de vivre" ("I decided to live").