(KEY WEST, Fla.) — Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was pulled from the water Tuesday morning ending her historic Cuba-to-Florida swim.
Nyad was attempting to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Her 63rd birthday is Wednesday.
Support crews pulled Nyad out of the water as they gave a phone interview to ABC’s Good Morning America.
“We pulled her out of the water,” Steve Munatones told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “The dangers were so great that we couldn’t risk anyone’s life, including her own.”
Munatones was the official observer of the swim and the editor in chief of the Daily News of Open Water Swimming.
It was Nyad’s fourth attempt to complete the swim.
Support crews monitoring Nyad told GMA that Nyad had severe sun burn, a strained bicep muscle and could barely walk. Nyad and her crew are on their way to Florida’s Oceanside Marina in Stock Island, Key West, so she can receive medical care for non life-threatening injuries.
Nyad’s lips and tongue had become increasingly swollen overnight, puffing up because of salt water. Members of her support crew of 63, which included multiple boats, had slathered her face and full-body wetsuit with black-tinted lanolin to keep the jellyfish and the cold at bay.
Team members said she had been struck at least four times by jellyfish during her voyage. Jellyfish stings cut short her attempt to make the crossing last year.
This was Nyad’s third attempt to complete the swim in less than a year. Nyad was not allowed to touch or be touched by any of the support crews or vessels.
Nyad began the arduous journey late Saturday night. At a pace of 50 strokes a minute, the journey was expected to take 60 hours. A squall with winds of 14 knots hit the flotilla Sunday and stayed “nearly stationary over” Nyad, forcing her to move northwest in order to try to find a way out of the storm.
She ended her last attempt in September 2011 after more than 40 hours, 67 nautical miles of swimming, and two Portuguese man o’ war stings.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
AJ Willingham, CNN
Madison Park, CNN
John Newsome, CNN
Chandrika Narayan, CNN