Nightly News | September 19, 2010
LESTER HOLT, anchor: A journey that began in England and ended in France wouldn't be all that notable if it weren't for the man who completed it. His achievement was to swim the English Channel , and Nina Dos Santos tells us why it was so memorable.
NINA DOS SANTOS: After 13 1/2 hours in the water, Philippe Croizon reached land. As he emerged, the significance of what he had accomplished was obvious to all. This weekend the 42-year-old Frenchman became the first quadruple amputee ever to swim the English Channel . What's more, it took him 10 hours less than expected.
Mr. PHILIPPE CROIZON: I just kept going and going until I finally made it.
DOS SANTOS: We spoke to Croizon from his home in France .
Mr. CROIZON: I was so scared of not making it, I kept thinking of my sons and all those people who have supported me through the years.
DOS SANTOS: Wearing specially designed prosthetic flippers on his legs, Croizon swam a steady crawl with his truncated arms. A snorkel aided his breathing. Friends and family were at his side all the way, offering words of encouragement.
Mr. JEREMY CROIZON (Son): He's just brilliant. He's an example for everybody. He's giving real inspiration to everybody.
DOS SANTOS: The former metal worker lost his arms and legs 16 years ago after being electrocuted while fixing his TV antenna . While in the hospital, a documentary about swimming the Channel fixed his ambition. It took two years to train for the 21-mile swim from England 's south coast to France .
Mr. CROIZON: It's a symbol for all those who think life is about suffering when you can pull yourself out of anything.
DOS SANTOS: Since his accident, Croizon has been an inspiration for people with disabilities. Already he's sampled the thrill of parachuting, and now this brave Frenchman hopes to swim from Europe to Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar . Nina Dos Santos , NBC News , London .