Atlantic swimmer 'trying to save expedition' after crew members quit

An ex-serviceman from Cheltenham who was meant to begin a challenge to swim across the Atlantic now says he's 'trying to save his expedition' after a delay stopped him setting off.

Ben Hooper is hoping to raise £1 million for charity during his record-breaking attempt but this morning he announced on Facebook a 'major issue' meant he would not be setting off today.

He was due to set off from Dakar in Senegal on the 2000 mile journey to the city of Natal in Brazil but said two members of his crew decided to drop out at the last minute:

Overnight my medic and one sailor have decided to leave for personal reasons hours before start. Replacements should be here in time for Saturday start."

Ben Hooper

In an earlier Facebook post Ben said:

"we have a major issue I've just been informed of with captain [sic]. We are not going today. I have to fix this. I'm stunned and trying to save my expedition. Apologies to all.... I cannot believe this ... so sorry... but we will go..."

Ben Hooper on Facebook

The stretch of water - the longest between continents across the Atlantic - has not officially been swum before.

Ben was inspired to take on the challenge after conquering a severe bout of depression which made him want to convince children a 'normal guy' could achieve something extraordinary.

In the last 24 hours Ben also posted messages about the equipment he would be using and his final supper before setting off.