Man Dies After Diving Record Attempt

Nicholas Mevoli hoped to reach 236 feet on one breath

Nov 18, 2013
Outside Magazine
Free Divign Water

Freediver holding his breath deep in the water.    Felix Renaud/iStockphoto

A Brooklyn man attempting a freediving record died in that attempt on Sunday after staying submerged for three minutes and 38 seconds and reaching depths of 200 feet.

Nicholas Mevoli, the first American to dive to 100 meters (328 feet) unassisted, was aiming to reach 72 meters (236 feet) in one breath without the assistance of fins at Vertical Blue, a championship event in the Bahamas.

Mevoli’s progress downward appeared smooth until about 68 meters when he seemed to turn back, according to The New York Times. But instead of heading to the surface, he dove down again to reach the record.

It was only just after Mevoli shot to the surface under his own power and flashed the OK sign that he lost consciousness. According to those on the scene, Mevoli had pulmonary edema, and 800 cubic centimeters of fluid was pulled from his lungs. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later; his body is still awaiting autopsy.

“It’s an extreme sport,” Mike Board, the British record-holder, told The New York Times. “We all make split-second decision, and sometimes we pay the consequences. But his will to get the job done and win is that made him such a great free diver.”

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