1. ITV Report

Ex-serviceman forced to abandon Atlantic swim record attempt

A former serviceman attempting to become the first-ever person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean has abandoned his challenge.

Ex-serviceman Ben Hooper started his four month, 2,000 mile quest from West Africa to Brazil on November 13.

But the dad has been forced to halt the epic quest after just 87 miles after revealing his support boat was severely damaged in a storm.

Ben had planned to swim 2,000 miles - facing sharks, waves and storms.

The 38-year-old from Cheltenham has spent more than three years preparing for the marathon journey.

It was expected to take him up to four and a half months.

The disheartening news comes just 10 days after he was left partially paralysed by a Portuguese man o'war sting.

After being taken into a support boat he recovered and hit the water once more.

Ben hoped to make history by swimming the entire length of the Atlantic

But, despite their efforts, he announced his decision to abandon the attempt after the team were hit by fifth day of Atlantic storms.

He said the catamaran's steering and rigging were severely damaged in the rough weather, "enough to warrant a reappraisal of the expedition".

In the interest of the safety of all souls on-board Big Blue we have decided to postpone the expedition and sail directly to Natal in Brazil by the shortest route.

I reiterate that my attempt to become the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, every single Mile remains, but that it has been postponed for the time being.

My crew have worked tirelessly to make this possible and this decision has not been taken lightly; indeed, the easy option would have been to carry on at all costs - that would have been foolhardy and unnecessary.

To quote Theodore Roosevelt "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed".

We have NOT failed; we have achieved and gained the knowledge to succeed in the future.

– Ben Hooper
Ben's swim will would have seen him tackle 30ft high swells and shark infested waters.

Ben, an ex-Army serviceman and police officer from Cheltenham, Glos., planned to swim from Dakar in Senegal to Natal - a journey which should have taken him four months.

Weather and problems with his health, boat and technical issues prevented him from swimming on 15 out of the 33 days he was at sea for.