Drunk Briton becomes first to swim Hoover Dam
Aaron Hughes, in Las Vegas for his stag-do, escaped being dragged under only because nine of the 10 turbines were not in operation
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.
Aaron Hughes, from Denbighshire in North Wales, was arrested and fined $330 (£250) for the stunt but told the Daily Post it was worth it saying: “It was around 45-50 degrees outside and we were on a stag do in Vegas. You go to Vegas to have fun, don’t you? We made the Hangover movie look tame.”
“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.
The fork-lift truck driver said he was surprised to be arrested as he hadn’t seen any signs forbidding swimming in the dam though he admitted the stunt had been “drink-fuelled”.
“We got there and it was absolutely roasting. I thought to myself ‘I’m going in for a dip’,” he said.
“I don’t have any regrets. I even have a tattoo saying ‘no regrets’. That’s the type of person I am.”