Pascal Bernabe, a 41-year-old Frenchman, has claimed a new world record depth of 330m on open circuit scuba. The record was previously claimed by South African Numo Gomes, whose 318m mark stood for just three weeks.
Diving off Corsica, Bernabe descended in about ten minutes and completed about nine hours of decompression. He carried seven cylinders containing trimix bottom gas and other mixes. Stage cylinders were also arranged for the decompression schedule.
The 12m margin by which Bernabe exceeded Gomes' dive follows a 5m gap that separated Gomes and the previous holder, Mark Ellyatt. Ellyatt exceeded his own record predecessor, the late John Bennett, by another 5m.
Sponsored by gear manufacturer Ralf Tech, Bernabeâ€™s project involved a back-up team of 30, of whom 12 were support divers. Bernabe is said not to have suffered health complications from the dive.
Bernabe, a schoolteacher, was the deepest support diver during freediver Audrey Mestre's fatal attempt to set a sled-freediving world record off the Dominican Republic in October 2002.
He and other team divers tried in vain to save Mestre when, having reached her target depth of 171m, she fell victim both to an inadequately filled lift-bag cylinder and a sticking sled.
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