Belfast Telegraph

Long distance swimmer thanks Belfast medics who saved his life

Atila Manyoki was suffering from hypothermia, severe jellyfish stings and breathing difficulties when he was admitted to Ulster Hospital.

(Ulster Hospital/PA).
(Ulster Hospital/PA).

By Michael McHugh, PA

An extreme long-distance swimmer who has crossed the seven most dangerous waters in the world has returned to Belfast to thank the medics who saved his life.

Atila Manyoki, 44, from Budapest, was suffering from hypothermia, severe jellyfish stings and breathing difficulties when he was admitted to the Ulster Hospital intensive care unit last August.

He was in very poor condition but made a dramatic recovery and vowed to return to complete the Oceans Seven challenge.

On Monday he crossed the North Channel from Donaghadee in Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland in 12 hours and 11 minutes.

Dr Darling brought me back and I must say so many thanks to the hospital Atila Manyoki

He returned to the hospital to thank doctors and nurses and said: “I owe everything to Dr Bob Darling and the team in the intensive care unit at the Ulster Hospital.

“My motivation to come back here and complete the swim came from these people and this place.

“Dr Darling brought me back and I must say so many thanks to the hospital.”

He broke the record for the fastest time over all seven swims.

“It was brilliant, finally I did it.

“The conditions were like the previous time, with lots of jellyfish, but I only got five or six stings in the final section. They weren’t so serious this time and I was able to go on.

“Now I am the fastest overall time leader in the Oceans Seven series and it is a fantastic feeling.”

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He returned to the Ulster Hospital to thank doctors and nurses (Ulster Hospital/PA).

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Darling said it was remarkable that his former patient was able to come back and complete the swim, psychologically and physically.

He said: “I was worried that there would be some scarring or residual effect on his lungs.

“I am really pleased for him that he has achieved this milestone. He is unique.”

Mr Manyoki’s next challenge will be swimming 50 kilometres around Manhattan Island, New York.

The sportsman swam through the English Channel in 2013, and in 2014 he endured the Tsugaru Strait of Japan, regarded as the most difficult waterway in the world.

Next up was the Molokai Channel in Hawaii,  the Catalina Channel near Los Angeles, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Cook Strait in New Zealand.

The North Channel swim makes him the 17th person to complete the Oceans Seven.

PA

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