Herbert Nitsch is the greatest freediver of all time, current freediving world record holder and “Deepest Man on Earth”.
Herbert can hold his breath for more than 9 minutes and has set a total of 33 world records, across all of the 8 recognised freediving disciplines.
On June 6th, 2012, Herbert dove to a world record 253.2 m (830.8 ft), in the No-Limits sled-dive discipline.
On the ascent, at 80m, Herbert temporarily fell asleep due to nitrogen narcosis and consequently missed the critical one-minute underwater decompression stop. Upon surfacing Herbert was alert and asked for a mask to immediately return underwater to re-compress on pure oxygen – but it was too late..
While decompressing underwater, Herbert felt the onset of severe decompression sickness, which would eventually result in multiple brain-strokes.
Herbert arrived comatose at hospital and his future did not look good. With a prognosis of remaining a “wheelchair-bound care-dependent patient”, he dismissed himself from long-term facilitated care, and took his healing into his own hands.
Today, against all odds, Herbert is fit, training and deep-freediving again.
“Each time I think I've reached a limit there's a door.. it opens.. and the limit is gone.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
All photos are copyrighted:
- HN = © herbertnitsch.com
- HNPS = © Herbert Nitsch & Phil Simha
Enjoy the interview.