D-Day: Herbert Nitsch 800 Feet Record Attempt

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Today is the day that Herbert Nitsch would have done a 800 feet/244 meter No Limits dive. After some relocation of the boot and some delays in the diving he went under at 14:30 and after 4:20 minutes came back up after reaching his announced depth. While all other dives thus-far felt great after surfacing, this one didn’t.

Herbert immediately asked for oxygen and went down again to 9 meters for 15 minutes to complete a decompression dive. But even after this he din’t feel well and the medical evacuation procedure was started.

He was transferred by speedboat to land and flown by plane to the deco chamber in Athens. It appears he was still communicating and conscious during all of this. But it’s all not a good sign.

Update

New update from Herbert his team:

The last information received from Athens, is that Herbert was conscious and speaking fluidly at the time he was taken to the hospital. He has been taken into the recompression chamber and is undergoing treatment. Due to the nature of such treatment, which may ongoing for a few hours, we might not be able to provide further updates tonight.

We expect to receive detailed information within tomorrow, Friday June 7th before noon and will provide further update as soon as possible via the usual channels.

Update 7-6-2012

And here an official press release about what happened. Are they seriously claiming a successful record?

Recovering Well After World Record of 244m (800ft)

On the picturesque Island of Santorini, near Thirasia the world record attempt for the “Extreme 800” took place at 2:30pm. Herbert was accompanied by a support team of 5 safety divers, 2 medical specialists and an experienced underwater film crew, all with specific tasks to ensure Herbert´s safety and wellbeing. The warm up and preparation phase went according to plan and he felt very comfortable and clear minded during the initial stage of his final preparation as well as after moving and strapping into his sled.

Herbert Nitsch reached the planned world record depth of 244m (800ft) and reascended without any technical mishap. He did however feel physically unstable upon reaching the depth of 10 meters, which was the planned stop for him to exit the sled and start his decompression routine. According to the drills and safety procedures that had been thoroughly trained and rehearsed, his safety divers then assisted him back up to the surface.

Upon surfacing, he was aware and conscious, took his oxygen regulator as a standard part of his routine and went back down to complete his decompression schedule between 9 and 6 meters. It became apparent during this phase that he was feeling disoriented, although breathing perfectly on his oxygen regulator. As a safety measure, the surface team than requested the emergency plan to be set in motion: as soon as Herbert surfaced again, he was moved onto the safety speed boat and evacuated to the nearest harbor under supervision of a doctor and a medic. In the harbor, the ambulance which was on standby transported him right away to the airport of Santorini; from there, he was evacuated by air ambulance (plane) directly to the naval hospital in Athens.

He undertook an initial decompression chamber treatment within less than an hour after the beginning of the dive. Past this initial treatment, he was put under sedatives to spend the night under intravenous and constant monitoring. After awakening this morning, he was placed back into the chamber for further treatment. Due to the duration of such treatment, he will still be under decompression for a few hours this afternoon and no further comment or update will be provided today.

We would like to insist on the fact that this statement is true to the point. We have no reasons to diminish the gravity of what happened or the positive outcome we are informing you about. Herbert never experienced a massive heart attack as has been communicated by wrongly informed media. We feel it is our duty to communicate accurately on these events, in the interest of Herbert as much as for the sake of the whole freediving community and any diver considering similar feat.

We will publish further information tomorrow and look forward to sharing more positive news. Herbert, his family and his whole team here in Santorini extend their grateful thanks to the emergency team which was on standby in Santorini. Our outmost thanks go to Dr Kelidis, the Divers Alert Network and all of you caring for accurate information on Herbert’ wellbeing.

No man has ever achieved what Herbert Nitsch did throughout his career. No man could have done what he did yesterday and come back alive. Despite the unlucky outcome of this dive, Herbert is and remain the greatest freediver of all times.