Freediving World Record Peter Colat Manages Almost 20 Minutes Under Water In Switzerland
A World Record For Holding Breath Broken Swiss diver has taken more than a few people's breath away after he survived under water without breathing apparatus for almost 20 minutes.
Peter Colat broke all previous records by holding his breath for an impressive 19 minutes and 21 seconds as he floated inside a water tank.
The thirty-eight-year-old is an avid aficionado of freediving, an extreme sport where the aim is to stay under water, unaided by snorkels or oxygen tanks, for as long as possible.
Colat said the first 12 minutes were "no problem", though he found the last stretch of his record attempt much more challenging.
Colat plunged into a water tank at an event in St Gallen, Switzerland.
Before the attempt, he was allowed to breathe pure oxygen for 10 minutes to help him endure the physical effects of the dive.
He beat the previous record, held by Italian Nicola Putignano, by 19 seconds.
Peter Atkey, of the Diving Diseases Research Centre, was stunned by the record-beating time.
"It's an astonishing amount of time," he said.
And talking about the fact that freedivers can drown after eight minutes without oxygen, he added: "It's clear that some people can put up with it a lot more.
"You teach your body to go without breathing for longer periods of time through progressive depth dives.
"(Freedivers) have some sort of physical predilection to it."
That has not stopped freediving from earning a reputation as one of the most dangerous extreme sports.
Only last week, coast guard officials recovered the body of a freediver who was attacked by a shark while diving off the coast of Guam.
In 2007, a former French freediving champion died after he passed out while training in the Mediterranean.
A rapid ascent rope, designed to save his life in such an event, became snagged under water and by the time he reached the surface rescue workers were unable to resuscitate him.
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