RENNES, France (AFP) – Limbless French adventurer Philippe Croizon, known for his feats of swimming and diving, has had his custom-designed wheelchair stolen while on holiday in northern France.
Croizon, famed as the first quadruple amputee to swim across the English Channel, appealed to the thieves to return the wheelchair.
"They haven't just stolen my wheelchair, they've stolen my autonomy," Croizon told AFP after the theft of the wheelchair and its trailer, which he discovered missing on Friday morning while staying with friends near Dieppe.
"I feel sad and angry," he said. "Let them keep the trailer if they want, but at least give back the wheelchair."
Croizon, 45, said the high-tech, all-terrain wheelchair was brand-new and had been designed specially for him.
Croizon, a former metal-worker, had all four limbs amputated in 1994 from the elbows and knees after being struck by an electric shock of more than 20,000 volts as he tried to remove a TV antenna from a roof.
He has since carried out a series of exploits, including swimming the Channel in 2010, swimming four straits separating five continents, and in January becoming the first quadruple amputee to complete a 33-metre (100-foot) dive.