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Swimmer Fails to Make It to Florida

June 04, 1993|Times Wire Services

MIAMI — An American trying to swim from Cuba to Florida was pulled from the Florida Straits on Thursday when wind and currents became too much for him.

Skip Storch, 35, head of parks and recreation for Spring Valley, N.Y., had received a send-off from Cuban President Fidel Castro when he left Havana Wednesday morning. He had made it 35 miles north of Cuba when he was overcome, said Gene Chillemi, spokesman for the Coral Reef Relief Swim.

He had hoped to make the 177-mile swim to Islamorada in the Florida Keys to draw attention to the problem of deteriorating coral reefs.

The swimmer was accompanied by two referees and a camera crew in boats and a shark cage, a metal screen 25 feet long and 5 feet deep to fend off sharks.

His departure had been delayed one day by a tropical depression that raked the Caribbean island early in the week.

Inshore waters were calm and winds were light at his departure, but conditions deteriorated as Storch entered the open water between Cuba and Florida.

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