by Faiza Saqib and Nicola Slawson
A British man has been fined for swimming across the Colorado river at the Hoover Dam while drunk on a stag do.
Aaron 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.
The 28-year-old was told he escaped being dragged under only because nine of the 10 hydroelectric turbines were not in operation at the time.
Hughes, a forklift truck driver from Denbighshire, north Wales, was arrested immediately after getting out of the water and fined $330 (£250).
He told the Daily Post: “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 fuck it, I’m going for a swim. I got to the bottom and thought: I can make that.”
His friends, who 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.”
In the last 10 years, 275 people have died at the site and no one had previously survived swimming across its breadth. However, it is thought that had all of the turbines been switched on, Hughes also would not have survived.
The police were waiting for him when he climbed back out and he was put into handcuffs before being issued the fine. Of his arrest, he said: “I didn’t realise it was an offence. There are no signs saying no swimming – you’re just expected not to.”
He did, however, admit the swim was “drink fuelled”.