* Chloe McCardel abandons attempt after 11 hours in water
* Had hoped to reach Florida's Key West on Friday night
(Recasts with attempt abandoned)
By Jeff Franks
HAVANA, June 12 Australian long-distance swimmer
Chloe McCardel abandoned her quest to become the first person to
make the 103 mile (166 km) swim from Cuba to Florida without a
shark cage, after she was severely stung by a jelly fish on
McCardel, 28, gave up the attempt after 11 hours in the
water due to a "severe debilitating jelly fish sting," her
support team said in a statement.
"Chloe is now on one of the support vessels heading to Key
West. She will spend the next 24 hours recuperating before
deciding on her plans going forward," the statement said.
McCardel, who plunged into a calm, crystal-clear sea early
on Wednesday, had hoped to swim through the Straits of Florida
in about 60 hours and reach Key West on Friday night.
She had a team of scientists in the United States to help
guide her through the powerful and unpredictable current that
has stymied many previous attempts, and was aware of the hazards
posed by jellyfish.
Her swim was timed with the season and moon phase to
minimize the presence of the venomous box jellyfish, which had
plagued previous swimmers, including American Diana Nyad who was
stung repeatedly in August on her fourth failed attempt at the
crossing. It was not immediately clear what species of jelly
fish ended McCardel's bid.
Only one person, Australian Susie Maroney in 1997, has
completed the Cuba-U.S. swim, but she used a shark cage, which
helps cut through the water.
Last summer, British-born Australian Penny Palfrey got
tantalizingly close to the Florida Keys but could not finish
when she swam into a Gulf Stream eddy that pushed her in the
Just before jumping into the sea from a promontory at
Havana's Hemingway Marina, McCardel had been sure enough of her
success to invite the commodore of the marina to a party in Key
West on Friday night.
"(I'm) as confident as I can be ... I think it's all going to
work out well," she said.
(Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Tom Brown,
Kenneth Barry and Mohammad Zargham)