A TIPSY Brit who tried to swim across a two mile Italian lake for a dare has been slammed by rescuers.
Martin Walsh, 46, was plucked from the water after a rescue chopper and two boats were dispatched to save him.
Martin Walsh, 46, had to be rescued after trying to swim across two mile Lake Garda while drunk for a dare[/caption]
A police diver jumped into the water to reach him and he was pulled exhausted and near death from the lake in a £20,000 operation involving 20 people.
Police said he had spent the afternoon drinking and told pals he was going to swim across Lake Garda in northern Italy, a popular destination for Brit holidaymakers.
He set off from Limone on the eastern shore of the lake intending to reach Navene on the opposite side. The swim is possible but only for trained athletes and is often used as a competitive event.
But dad of two Walsh dived into the sea armed with just two flip flops as a flotation device and got into trouble within ten minutes.
‘A VERY STUPID THING TO DO’
A witness said: “His pals were all cheering him on then they went quiet as you couldn’t see him anymore.
“The lake was actually quite choppy and they got worried so alerted the emergency services. It’s a silly thing to do, the lake goes to a depth of 340 metres (1115 ft).
“From what I heard he had been drinking and told his friends he was going to swim across to the other side – it looks easy but it’s suicide unless you are fit and know what you are doing.”
Marco Camparada, the officer who rescued him, told The Sun: “It was a very stupid thing to do. He risked his life and could easily have drowned. When we got to him he was half dead from exhaustion.
“It appears he had spent the afternoon drinking with friends and then decided to swim across the lake to the other side.
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“It is possible but only if you are a highly trained athlete and this gentleman wasn’t.”
A source said: ”We had a chopper up and two rescue boats to save him. While we don’t begrudge the rescue resources shouldn’t be wasted on the behaviour of silly tourists.”
Last night Walsh, from Silverdale, near Nottingham, was not at his home and could not be reached for comment.
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