Pedal-powered Channel crossing canned after hitch

(iStock)
(iStock)

Rennes - Two French engineers have been forced to end a bid to cross the Channel in a pedal-powered submarine after encountering technical problems, their team said on Monday.

Antoine Delafargue, 34, and Michael de Lagarde, 35, set out from Plymouth in southwest England on Friday in a 3-ton, 6m-long submarine.

The two men had hoped to complete the 250km crossing to Saint-Malo in northwest France within a week, each pedalling for up to 12 hours a day - the equivalent of a stage of the Tour de France every day.

But within hours of being submerged they were forced to return to port after a vessel tracking the submarine lost the use of its sonar, Gael Brelet, a spokesperson for the Pilot Fish Project, told AFP.

On their return to Plymouth the sailors also noticed another problem.

Brelet said the submarine capsule showed "dangerous levels of carbon monoxide", but tests later showed the fuel cell was, in fact, leaking hydrogen.

Citing safety reasons, Delafargue and Lagarde decided to call off the mission and try again next year, Brelet added.

On the project's website, it explains that, as well as crossing the stretch of sea, the two men aimed to film the ocean bed and promote energy conservation.

"We want to wake people up from their power and gas guzzling dreams," they said in a statement.

Delafargue told British media he had funded the project himself at a cost of about $130 000.

"I'd always wanted to build a submarine since I was a kid," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
38% - 4058 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 2762 votes
No, I don't think they need it
36% - 3899 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.29
(-0.52)
ZAR/GBP
21.24
(-0.12)
ZAR/EUR
18.29
(-0.11)
ZAR/AUD
11.81
(-0.08)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.10)
Gold
1700.44
(+0.04)
Silver
25.20
(+0.16)
Platinum
1128.01
(+0.31)
Brent Crude
69.67
(+3.93)
Palladium
2329.95
(+0.62)
All Share
68271.19
(+0.78)
Top 40
62788.64
(+0.87)
Financial 15
12759.80
(+0.67)
Industrial 25
87613.31
(-0.32)
Resource 10
70801.78
(+2.36)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo