Freediving with Herbert Nitsch – Stay Active, #Md2 for Spring 2017

Herbert Nitsch

On June 6, 2012, Herbert Nitsch dove to 253.2 m (830.8 ft), on a No Limit sled-dive, which would also become a world record dive. But, something happened, something unexpected. Herbert was given the prognosis of being a “wheelchair-bound care-dependent patient”.

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For some, this dive would have ended their career, but for Herbert, it became an experience that has become a part of who he is but an experience that he has not let define who he is.

Herbert shared some insight into this moment with us.

“I incurred severe decompression sickness approximately 15 minutes after resurfacing. During the dive, well after having reached the planned depth, I temporarily fell asleep due to nitrogen narcosis and consequently missed the planned one-minute underwater decompression stop on the same breath-hold.”

“At the surface, I was alert and asked for a mask to return underwater to recompress on pure oxygen, which is a standard after-dive safety feature to further off-gas. But, it was too late. While decompressing underwater, I felt the onset of DCS (Decompression Sickness), which would eventually result in multiple brain-strokes. I arrived comatose at the hyperbaric chamber and my future did not look good…”

Read more about Herbert Nitsch in our Stay Active, #Md2 for Spring 2017 issue at