White Cliffs of Dover
View of the white cliffs of Dover in Dover, England Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

A renowned endurance athlete has died after attempting to swim the English Channel from Dover to Calais.

Nick Thomas, 45, from Ellesmere in Shropshire, who had chosen not to wear a wetsuit, was pulled unconscious from the water but could not be revived. His family have been informed.

According to the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation Nick set off on Saturday morning and had been swimming for 16 hours when he got into difficulties on Sunday morning.

Still 10 miles from the French coast, he was pulled into a boat and given CPR before being taken to Calais. A waiting ambulance transferred him to hospital where he died.

A Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement: "We are offering assistance to the family of a British national following his death in Calais, France."

Building contractor Nick had swum the Channel once before, in 2014, and had also participated in the Ironman and Ultraman events.

On Twitter Enduroman Events tweeted: "Our friend Nick Thomas left us whilst doing what he loved – he just kept going. He'll always be a part of what we do and who we are."

Freddie Iron, who joint winner of Channel 4's "SAS: Who Dare Wins," said on Facebook: "Absolutely devastated to hear that #19 Nick Thomas has tragically passed away on his solo channel swim attempt last night. A true Enduroman great, training partner and friend (here giving me some top swimming lifestyle tips on our swimming camp in Lanzarote). He will be sorely missed and his loss will he massively felt in the Enduroman community. Thoughts are with his family. Keep swimming my friend…"

Nick's death comes amid a spate of ocean-related tragedies around the UK over the summer of 2016. On Wednesday (24 August) five young friends from London drowned at Camber Sands in East Sussex. A father and daughter died after huge waves crashed in at Newquay in Cornwall. And a mother and son died in another tragedy in Aberdeen.

At least eight people are known to have died attempting to make the 20-mile crossing between England and France. They include Susan Taylor (2013) and Páraic Casey (2012).