An Egyptian man recently took the ultimate plunge for the sake of science. Setting a new Guinness World Record for the deepest scuba dive, the man dove more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) below the surface of the Red Sea.
When asked why he decided to dive deeper than any person had before, Ahmed Gabr, 41, told the media that he was hoping to prove that humans could survive the conditions of deep-sea immersion, according to Guinness World Records.
Diving off the coast of Dahab, Egypt, Gabr reached a depth of 1,090 feet 4 inches (332.35 meters). The previous record holder for the deepest scuba dive, Nuno Gomes of South Africa, also dove off the coast of Dahab, in 2005, reaching a depth of 1,044 feet (318.21 m). [7 Amazing Superhuman Feats]
To put these depths into perspective, three American football fields laid end to end would measure 900 feet (274.32 m) long — less than the distance these divers reached underwater. Most recreational scuba divers only dive as deep as 130 feet (40 meters), according to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.
It took Gabr only about 12 minutes to reach the record depth, which he achieved with the help of a specially tagged rope that he pulled along with him from the surface, Guinness World Records officials said in a statement. However, the trip back up to the surface took much longer — about 15 hours. Returning too quickly from such depths is associated with a number of health risks, such as decompression sickness (also known as the bends) and nitrogen narcosis from excess nitrogen in the brain, which Gabr luckily avoided.
Gabr has been training for his world record attempt for four years, according to Guinness World Records. In addition to serving as a special forces officer in the Egyptian army, Gabr has also taught as a diving instructor for 17 years.
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Elizabeth is a former Live Science associate editor and current director of audience development at the Chamber of Commerce. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University. Elizabeth has traveled throughout the Americas, studying political systems and indigenous cultures and teaching English to students of all ages.