Australian triathlete mistaken for illegal immigrant during English Channel swim

Last updated 12:50, August 28 2014

Australian John van Wisse has encountered an unexpected obstacle in his ambitious ultra-triathlon bid from London to Paris - the British border patrol.

The Melbourne athlete, who was on track to break the record for one of the world's toughest sporting challenges, was briefly mistaken for an illegal immigrant as he prepared to begin the swim leg across the English Channel on Wednesday.

Police and coast guards were called to Dover's Shakespeare Beach by concerned locals around 8.30am but quickly saw the funny side when they realised what they were dealing with.

A Kent Police spokeswoman told the Dover Express it appeared some people called police, thinking it was illegal immigrants coming ashore after several people were seen jumping off a boat.

Van Wisse, 41, on Tuesday set off on the "Arch to Arc" challenge, from London's Marble Arch to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

AAP

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 - The Age