Sri Lankan swimmer Kumar Anandan, 36, died while making his attempt on 6th August 1984. Hypothermia and exhaustion were the cause of death. At the subsequent inquest, Coroner Richard Sturt recommended that anyone making an attempt to swim the Channel should produce a fitness certificate. Since then all swimmers have been told they must produce a medical certificate.
Before the swim Anandan had said “The cold sea is my biggest worry. I have not had the time to acclimatize to it. The sea back home is very warm and comfortable”. He got into trouble several miles off Dover in rough seas. He was pulled out and given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, transferred to another boat and then to an RAF helicopter, which carried him to Canterbury Hospital where he was pronounced dead
Vivekanandan Selva Kumar Anandan was a Guinness World Records holder. His many records include swimming the Palk Strait, from Sri Lanka to India and back, in 51 hours in 1971. Once he met with a serious motor vehicle accident and was hospitalized for six months. While attempting to swim the English Channel on August 6, 1984 he collapsed and died due to heavy currents. Kumar Anandan held a number of individual Guinness Records at one point, which included Non-Stop Water treading (80 hours at Chennai), Standing on one leg for 33 hours, Non-Stop dancing, Ball punching for 136 hours, etc.
He was a Tamil from Valvettithurai, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. He had a distinguished educational career; he was a graduate of University of London and also obtained a Bachelor of Law degree in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and was an Attorney at Law by profession.