A British woman has died while attempting to swim the English Channel for charity, the Foreign Office said. Susan Taylor, who was in her 30s, was swimming under the guidance of the Channel Swimming Association, which officially authorises attempts, when she got into difficulty near the French coast at about 5.30pm on Sunday.
She was taken to hospital in nearby Boulogne-sur-Mer where she was later pronounced dead, according to news website The Local. A FCO spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in Boulogne on July 14. We are in touch with the family and are providing consular assistance."
The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CS&PF), which also authorises and supports the attempts, was not involved with the swim but was made aware of what had happened yesterday evening. CS&PF secretary Kevin Murphy said: "I was driving yesterday and the French coastguard rang me and asked for a telephone number for the captain of the boat. That was as far as my involvement went.
"It is incredibly sad. People in our organisation knew her. She had been our friend on the beach training in Dover and everyone's cut up about it because she was such a lovely, nice lady." Murphy said Ms Taylor was raising a lot of money for charity.
He said: "I did get to know her. I was on a training camp with her in Majorca in April. I do not know what her swimming history was but I do know she did a six-hour swim in cold water in Majorca in April. Both organisations require medicals signed by a doctor and we both require swims of at least six hours before we will register anyone to swim the Channel.
"It's an extreme sport. We know it's an extreme sport but its safety record is second to none. In nearly 150 years there have been only half a dozen fatalities."