But last night, Walker had another experience on the Tsugaru Channel that was rougher and much more unexpected.
Walker served as a member of Nathalie Luisa‘s escort crew along with Nathalie’s father, coach Joshua Neloh, translator/observer Mika Tokairin and escort pilot Captain Mizushima who has escorted many swimmers and relays across the channel and fished in its waters as his primary job.
Walker wrote, “I can’t believe I’m writing this…the swim didn’t go ahead for Nathalie as the boat crashed into rocks on route to the start.
Everyone is ok, if not slightly bruised and in shock.
Nathalie banged her side and has rib pain so we need to check her out tomorrow. The pilot was unconscious for a few minutes, but fortunately I was able to wake him up. He has gone off in an ambulance, he hurt his collar bone and has gone to hospital!! The boat had to be towed. Of course, the swim is cancelled and of course very disappointed for Nathalie Luisa.”
Update: Nathalie ribs were x-rayed in Japan and shows a bad bruised, but no break. The pilot has a broken collarbone and will undergo surgery in a few days. The Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association and Ocean Navi is reviewing its current safety protocols with changes anticipated to be made.
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