NITSCH, Herbert

Austria (1973- )

Last updated: April 15, 2020 at 1:34 am

Competitive freediver; former airline pilot; established the AIDA No Limit record of 214 m (702.1 ft) in 2007; has set over 30 world records; can hold his breath for more than 9 minutes; invented the neck weight in 2001; has introduced new safety features for No Limit freediving, including the double lift-bag and other safety devices. Nitsch dove to 253.2 m (830.8 ft) in 2012, the deepest any human has ever reached on a breath-hold dive, but he missed a planned one-minute decompression stop after passing out from nitrogen narcosis during ascent. He woke up before reaching the surface and thus completed the dive. After initiating a planned post-dive decompression, he nonetheless incurred severe DCS (type 2) which would eventually result in multiple brain-strokes. He arrived comatose at the hyperbaric chamber with a prognosis of remaining confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Two years later, Nitsch was training and freediving again.

Although Nitsch intended to have the 2012 attempt sanctioned by AIDA, a sponsoring conflict prevented AIDA from officiating the dive.

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