facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Jellyfish-proof mask aided Diana Nyad's Cuba-to-Fla. swim

Diana Nyad needed the help of a customized jellyfish-proof mask to help her complete her historic 100-mile swim.
By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Sept. 3, 2013 at 6:05 PM   |   Comments

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Diana Nyad may have made her impressive 100-mile swim between Cuba and Key West without the protection of a shark cage, but that doesn't mean she went completely unprotected.

In fact, the 64-year-old swimmer needed a customized face mask to help protect against the deadly box jellyfish, the venomous creatures who cut short her previous, fourth attempt at the grueling journey.

The customized silicon mask may have looked like something out of a horror movie, but it was critical for Nyad to complete the 52-hour journey.

"I was grateful for it," she said. "I knew I wasn't going to be stung at all. I felt 100 percent prepared for the jellyfish."

Nyad said the mask wasn't perfect: It's narrow mouth opening caused her to swallow "tremendous volumes" of water, causing vomiting, dehydration and discouragement in the 13 hours Saturday night and Sunday morning she needed the mask.

"That night was hell on Earth, it really was," she said.

Fortunately, the jellies dispersed by Sunday afternoon, and she was able to swim the rest of the way without the mask.

Nyad's fourth failed attempt to swim between Cuba and Key West was halted when the box jellyfish found the only exposed part of her body: her lips. She had worn head-to-toe protective gear otherwise, but the jellies managed to find bare skin, causing, as Nyad described it, "the paralysis, the otherworldly sensation of being burned alive."

The mask was designed and produced by Stefan Knauss, a prosthetics expert, who had Nyad try out the design by swimming through a swarm of hundreds of box jellies in June.

"As difficult as the swimming was, I was not stung once," she said. "Those deadly tentacles could not penetrate."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Woman gets third breast to make her 'unattractive' Woman gets third breast to make her 'unattractive'
2
Prison for pork-plundering $823 ham thief Prison for pork-plundering $823 ham thief
3
'Gimp Man of Essex' fights stereotypes 'Gimp Man of Essex' fights stereotypes
4
Chicken iPhone case part of KFC giveaway Chicken iPhone case part of KFC giveaway
5
Mystery plant identified as pot live on radio Mystery plant identified as pot live on radio
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback