No Limits revisits the 2002 death of freediver Audrey Mestre during a world-record attempt in the Dominican Republic. Airing on ESPN this July, the documentary embraces a theory that it was Mestre’s husband, freediving champion Pipin Ferreras, who pushed her to take risks, and whose recklessness may have ultimately been responsible for her death.
According to friends, Pipin trained Mestre as a protégé once he became too old to seek the thrills that once defined him. She went on to break world records, but it was an epic 170-meter dive that would be her last. Though she successfully reaches the bottom, she’s unable to ascend when her lift balloon fails. It’s a harrowing, terrifying sequence of events to witness, and it’s even more terrifying once you realize how few safety measures were set in place: Mestre only had two safety divers to assist her (rival Tanya Streeter has 16, by comparison), and the on-site “doctor” was merely a dentist.
It’s hard enough to accept the death of extreme athletes who took every safety precaution. Then you have Mestre, whose motivations may have been external, and whose death could very possibly have been prevented.