50-yr-old climate activist becomes 1st person to swim under Antarctic ice sheet

British climate activist Lewis Pugh has become the first person to swim under a melting Antarctic ice sheet to demonstrate climate change's "very rapid changes". "We need immediate action to protect our planet," the 50-year-old said.

An athlete, hailing from Britain, became the first person to swim under an ice sheet in Antarctica. He navigated through the waters while wearing only swimming trunks, a cap, and goggles.

Lewis Pugh, the 50-year-old swimmer, braved almost freezing waters of a supra-glacial lake and stayed in the water for over 10 minutes. However, it’s not the passion for creating a record which pushed Pugh to undertake the feat. He did it for a very different reason – to raise awareness about climate change.

“I swam here in East Antarctica to bring you this message,” Pugh wrote on a Twitter post. “Having witnessed the rapid melting in this region, I have no doubt that we are now facing a climate emergency. At #COP26, world leaders need to step up or step aside. Time is running out. Please share,” he added.

Further in an Instagram post, he explained about his “beautiful and terrifying swim”. He added that during the swim he came across varied hues of blue, from lightest to darkest. He also faced a risky situation when water of the lake suddenly started emptying through a crack. It would have meant water reaching the sea with Pugh in it. Luckily, “it was just the ice shifting” and he came out safely after completing his swim.