The Deepest Man on Earth

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Herbert Nitsch is a world record holder in the extremely dangerous sport of no-limits free-diving. He holds the official world record for swimming to a depth 702 feet without scuba equipment or any external air source. He has developed some of his own techniques for dealing with the dangers and challenges of the pressures at those depths. In 2012, Nisch surpassed his record, descending to a depth of 830. However on the ascent, he suffered from severe decompression sickness resulting in multiple strokes. After being in a coma for eight days, he doctors said he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Today, Herbert Nitsch is training and freediving once again.

Produced by Daniel Gross. Story editing and original music by Bob Carlson.

Herbert Nitsch
Photo: © Herbert Nitsch & Phil Simha


The "sled" device that pulls Herbert Nitsch to the surface during his dive
Photo: © Phil Simha

Underwater, Herbert Nitsch empties his lungs into these plastic bottles.
That air can later be used in the dive to equalize pressure in his ears and sinuses.

Photo: © Francine Kreiss



Bob Carlson