This Man Dived 236ft Deep In A Single Breath | His Last Moment Is Caught On Camera!

This Man Dived 236ft Deep In A Single Breath | His Last Moment Is Caught On Camera!

Testing the human limits most often comes with a cost. Nicholas Mevoli is a 32-year-old American freediver who attempted to expand his breathing skills. His tragic attempt to set an American record in freediving at the Vertical Blue competition. He wanted to take a dive 236ft deep and come back by holding a single breath. He reached the surface and everyone was pleasantly surprised. However, it didn’t last long. 

Nicholas gave an “O.K.” sign and attempted to speak as he got to the surface. But he tragically passed out only a few seconds later. The last photo of him was captured with sheer horror on his face in front of death. Two days before his death, he faced medical issues with another attempt. It is indeed shocking how he gave it another chance. Freediving, a sport that tests the very limits of human endurance, never looked more daunting. Let’s dive into the details of his story and his final photo. 

The Fateful Dive: Nicholas Mevoli’s Last Breath

On November 17, 2013, Nicholas Mevoli started a freediving attempt that aimed to break records. However, it ended in heartbreak. He attempted a CNF dive (Constant weight without fins) to a breathtaking depth of 72 meters (236 ft) in a single breath. The dive, filled with promise and potential, took a sad turn. 

Nicholas struggled and ultimately faced grave consequences upon his return to the surface. Three other divers surrounded him quickly to offer support. A German doctor immediately administered CPR along with three adrenaline shots within 90 minutes. However, all efforts were in vain. Nicholas Mevoli passed away from reportedly pulmonary edema. Nicholas was reportedly, the first athlete to pass in an international free-diving competition

Man Dived 236ft Deep In A Single Breath
Image source: The Post Game / LADbible

The Science Behind the Tragedy

The capillaries in his body have exploded under the immense pressure of the ocean water around him. His lungs were filled with fluid. This can occur in freediving due to the intense pressures experienced at great depths. The body gets challenged to adapt. The incident sheds light on the critical balance between aspiring to conquer the depths of the ocean and respecting the natural limits imposed by human physiology.

Two days before his death (on November 15, 2013) Mevoli tried to do a Free Immersion (FIM) dive for a depth of 96 meters (315 ft). But he decided to come back after diving 80 meters (260 ft) deep. He has been suffering an upper respiratory squeeze at that moment. It is quite surprising how he decided to give it another go two days later and even deeper. 

Man Dived 236ft Deep In A Single Breath
Image source: CNN

His Last Photo!

The last photo of him, surrounded by three safety divers, and his distressed expression was heartbreaking even to this day. Lia Hyun-Joo Barrett, the photographer, captured this chilling image that serves as a reminder of the risks involved in pushing human limits.

Man Dived 236ft Deep In A Single Breath
Image source: Lia Hyun-Joo Barrett (Distressed last moments of Nicholas)
Image source: Lia Hyun-Joo Barrett (Distressed last moments of Nicholas)

Remembering Nicholas: The Man Beyond the Dive

Nicholas Mevoli’s life was more than just his final dive. Born in Dunedin, Florida, in 1981 and later residing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he pursued his passion for freediving. However, he had a busy career as a prop technician, contributing to shows like “Gossip Girl” and Comedy Central shows. 

Friends and family remember him as a person full of life, ambition, and love for the sea. LizBurke, a friend of Nicholas also shared her emotional message following his death. 

“While I am shocked, I do not think this is depressing. A life lived without courage and risk is depressing. An office worker too afraid to leave and do what they love is depressing. Being 32 and living the life you chose, competing in a sport you love, surrounded by friends and being loved is not depressing — it is celebratory.”


His achievements in freediving, including setting an American record and his dedication to the sport, paint a picture of a man driven by passion.


Nicholas Mevoli’s story leaves a profound impact on the freediving community and beyond, igniting discussions on the limits of human endurance, the risks of extreme sports, and the human spirit’s undying urge to explore the unknown. As we reflect on Nicholas’s journey, let’s open the floor to discussions about the balance between pursuing passions and recognizing our physical boundaries.

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