The limbless Frenchmen Philippe Croizon has begun swimming from Papua New Guinea to the Indonesian province of Papua on the first of four inter-continent swims.
AFP says that Croizon, who lost both his arms and legs in an electrical accident in 1994, left Wutung in the country's remote west at 6am on Thursday local time. He was due to arrive at Pasar Skow village, near Mabo, which is 12 to 15 miles away, six to seven hours later.
"He's in the water now and feeling very good," his spokesman Robert Iseni is quoted as saying.
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Earlier in the week, Australia Network reported that Croizon's had been due to begin his swim on Tuesday, but was delayed by difficulties in securing official permission.
Croizon and his and his partner Arnaud Chassery are planning three more swims to "symbolically link the five continents" by crossing the narrow straits that separate them, Sky News explains. This first leg links Oceania to Asia.
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"Two little people like us, two little men, we're going to be able to build a bridge between the continents," Croizon reportedly said. "No one is very far from each other. So even if we have different political opinions, or skin colors, of even with our disabilities, we all live on the same planet. And that's the clear message we want to send."
Croizon already swam the 21 miles across the English Channel in September 2012, according to The Daily Mail. He completed the crossing in 13 hours, 10 hours ahead of schedule.