Egyptian frogman Ahmed Gamal Gabr has broken the world record for the deepest scuba dive with a plunge into the Red Sea, Guinness World Records said on Friday.
Gabr, a member of the special forces, reached the depth of 332.35 metres in 12 minutes but took almost 15 hours to return to the surface in order to avoid injury or illness.
The record was achieved Thursday at the popular Red Sea diving resort of Dahab, surpassing the previous mark of 318.25 metres set there in 2005 by South Africa’s Nuno Gomez.
“I would like to confirm that the record for the deepest scuba dive (male) in Dahab, Egypt was successful and was achieved by Ahmed Gabr,” Talal Omar, a Guinness World Records judge, told AFP in an email.
A team of hyperbaric doctors as well as French and Egyptian diving specialists aided Gabr in his feat by creating custom-made decompression tables and using more than 60 different diving tanks of several gases to keep him alive on his way back.
The team trained him for four years as the risks were enormous for the 41-year-old lieutenant colonel who had planned to descend 350 metres, organisers said.
At that depth water pressure reaches 35 kilos per square centimetre amid risks such as nitrogen narcosis and high pressure neurological syndrome (HPNS), which killed former world record holder American Sheck Exley.
French diver Pascal Bernabe also claims to have reached 330 meters deep off the coast of Corsica in 2005.
His record has not been certified by Guinness World Records, but is generally recognised by clubs and experts of sport diving in the world.
According to his team, Gabr spent months planning his every move, like race car drivers who memorise their courses.
A camera was fixed with his equipment to record his feat.
After 100 metres he left behind other divers and friends with him and descended alone into the cold, dark depths.
He had to limit his breathing to a minimum and slow his heartbeat, implementing techniques learned from yoga masters.
Divers at such extreme depths must have full control as a hurried ascent could be fatal.