A British fork-lift truck driver on a stag do in Las Vegas is believed to have become the first person to swim across the Hoover Dam and live to tell the tale.
“We were all just standing there and I thought f*** it, I’m going for a swim. I got to the bottom and thought: I can make that.”
Hughes is thought to be the first person to survive the swim across the reservoir at the 221m-tall (726ft) structure, which is on the border of Arizona and Nevada.
His friends, who The Guardian reports “have since called him a legend”, were supportive of the stunt.
Hughes said: “I literally just turned to the lads, said ‘I’m off’ and they were all cheering me on and I swam across. It’s a hell of a sight to see the dam from underneath.”
It took him 30 minutes to cross the reservoir. “Even though I was knackered halfway across, I knew I had to get to the other side. The water was pulling me in towards the dam.”
The 28-year-old was told he only survived because nine of the 10 hydroelectric turbines were not in operation at the time. Had all of the turbines been switched on, it’s believed Hughes would have been sucked under by the water flow.
In the last 10 years, 275 people have died at the site and no one had previously survived swimming across its breadth. Hughes said one police officer told him he was “the luckiest man alive”. He added: “They said they couldn’t believe it because I was the only person who had made it across alive.