A journalist became the first British citizen to cross the 16-kilometre Bangla Channel – from Teknaf to St Martin's Island in Bangladesh – today.
Becky Horsbrugh, who is also a swimming instructor, began swimming at 9:20am and took four hours and 45 minutes to cross the channel, she told The Daily Star through a mobile SMS.
A journalist of the Associated Press (AP), Horsbrugh swam the channel to raise funds for the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB).
"I am very happy to have completed it successfully," she told some locals and journalists present at Saint Martin's Island.
She will come here again to break her own record, she said adding, "Next time when I would be swimming this channel, I want one Bangladeshi girl to accompany me."
A combination of two her wishes, inspired the journalist to cross the channel– a chance to return to Bangladesh and to raise funds for the CIPRB.
She first visited Bangladesh last July to help out with the SwimSafe schemes run by the CIPRB.
She was concerned after reading articles on the rate of children's death by drowning in Bangladesh. According to the Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey 2016, forty children drown every day and among the total victims, 9,000 are aged between one and four years. Over 15,000 children drown annually in the country.
More than 80 percent of the drowning occurs in natural water bodies (ditches, ponds and creeks) less than 20 metres from their house especially between 9:00am and 2:00pm, when the mothers are busy with household chores and the child is left unsupervised.
Becky said swimming is a fundamental life saving right and it is a basic skill that everyone has a right to learn.