KEY WEST, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was pulled out of the water Tuesday morning during her Cuba-to-Florida swim, ending her attempt on the fourth day, according to CBS News.
Nyad emerged from the water at 7:42 a.m after 60 hours of swimming.
Mark Sollinger, operation director for Nyad’s team, told CBS News that they would be risking her life if she continued on.
“This morning as a team we decided that to continue after we had been through for another 28 to 40 hours just wasn’t going to make sense on a lot of levels, including the overall safety, not only of Diana, but the overall team,” Sollinger told CBS News.
A team member, Vanessa Linsley, said the swimmer was battered by a rough night.
“Instead of getting hit with one doozy they got hit with three,” Linsley said, “They got hit with the weather, they got hit with the jellyfish and they got hit with the sharks all at the same time.”
Nyad, who turns 63 on Wednesday, was making her third attempt since last summer to become the first person to cross the Florida Straits without a shark cage. She also made a failed try with a cage in 1978.
The overnight hours Tuesday marked the second straight night of storms encountered by the swimmer. On Monday evening, the swimmer’s crew was improvising ways to prevent hypothermia and to fend off further swelling of her lips and tongue. Though she’s swimming in 85-degree waters, because that is lower than the body’s core temperature, it will reduce her body temperature over time. Her team said she had been shivering.
“We all know her mind can handle it,” Candace Hogan, a crew member traveling with Nyad, wrote on the swimmer’s blog. “But there will always be a point where a human body can’t go any farther. What no one knows is where that line is drawn in Diana Nyad.”
Australian Susie Maroney successfully swam the Straits in 1997, but she used a shark cage. In June, another Australian, Penny Palfrey, made it 79 miles (127 kilometers) toward Florida without a cage before strong currents forced her to abandon the attempt.
Nyad has already endured jellyfish stings on the current attempt. Stings forced her to cut short her second of two attempts last year as toxins built up in her system.
She has been training for three years for the feat. She is accompanied by a support team in boats, and a kayak-borne apparatus shadowing Nyad helps keep sharks at bay by generating a faint electric field that is not noticeable to humans. A team of handlers is always on alert to dive in and distract any sharks that make it through.
She takes periodic short breaks to rest, hydrate and eat high-energy foods such as peanut butter.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)