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Ben Lecomte swimming in the oceanImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

He completed more than 2,700 kilometres of his journey

A French man has abandoned his bid to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean after his support boat was damaged by a storm.

Ben Lecomte, 51, set off from the coast of Japan on 5 June and had covered more than 2,700 km (1,500 nautical miles) of the 9,100 km journey.

But “irreparable” damage to a sail on the boat forced him to stop.

Mr Lecomte had been trying to raise awareness of climate change and plastic pollution throughout the journey.

On average he swam eight hours a day in an effort to hit his target.

It was not long after he reached the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, a zone dominated by ocean plastic, that he was presented with typhoons and severe storms.

“I am very disappointed because I had not reached my mental and physical limits,” he said in a statement.

He added: “We’ve faced treacherous winds, rain and ocean swells that have forced us to alter our course, and the irreparable damage to the sail is an insurmountable blow.”

He also added that safety was the team’s number one priority, and this was the reason they could not carry on.