British man cheats death as he becomes the first person to swim across the Hoover Dam
A British stag-do participant has become the first person in history to swim across the iconic, and incredibly dangerous, Hoover Dam. Arron Hughes, 28 was picked up by police at the end of his dip, after he swam across the perilous stretch of water which sits on the border of Arizona and Nevada. I can't decide whether he is a complete idiot, or if he's actually a legend.
Hughes, a forklift driver from Ruthin, Wales, says the only reason he made it across the dam alive was because nine of the 10 hydroelectric turbines had been switched off at the time of his attempt, otherwise there is no doubt that he probably would have ended up dead, after being pulled in by one of the turbines.
The Hoover Dam measures 221 meters, with a crest-width of 379 meters, and stretches across the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, near Las Vegas. Despite repeated warnings against swimming in it, 275 people have died at the site over the last 10 years. Even more incredibly, Mr Hughes says that he was "fuelled by drink" during his attempt to swim the dam, saying that he doesn't know how much alcohol he had consumed when he attempted the challenge.
Speaking to the press, Mr Hughes said:
"It was all down to having enough beer at the time. Ten of us were on a stag do and it was my first time in Vegas. We hadn't stopped drinking all week and I just wanted to make the most of it. We decided to go and see the Hoover Dam and on the way there, me and my friend were sat in the back of the pick-up. It was like an oven - it was roasting.
After a few days of drinking I decided I was going to go for a swim. The plan was to have a dip then jump out but in the end I thought you only live once - I may as well go for it.
"The water pushes you towards the wall so you've got to swim quite hard. It took about half an hour and you can't stop. The police were shocked. They were totally fine and just said 'we can't believe it'. One officer said 'in my whole lifetime I've never seen or heard of anyone doing it.' I didn't realise it was an offence. There are no signs saying no swimming - you're just expected not to."
The thing is, I'm not sure whether to praise Arron or to scold him. What he did was pretty reckless and it could've ended up so much worse than it actually did, but he did also do something that no one has ever done: he swam across the Hoover Dam. Whatever you think of it, you must admit it's a pretty cool thing to come home and brag about.