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Cuban Exile Plunges 517 Feet Below Sea, Breaking His Record

<i> Reuters</i>

A Cuban exile broke his own world free-diving record Saturday by plunging 517 feet, 5 inches, below the sea while holding his breath, withstanding 16 times the normal pressure of the atmosphere.

Jose Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras, 35, also set a record for pairs free-diving along with Audrey Mestre of France when they went down 377 feet, 3 1/2 inches.

Both records were set on a live television broadcast by the Televisa network from Cabo San Lucas.

In free diving, divers wearing wet suits and goggles sink using a weight and return to the surface by inflating a balloon. Ferreras was underwater for two minutes and 43 seconds on his solo dive. He and Mestre spent two minutes and 12 seconds below the surface.

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Ferreras eked out a living as a spear fisherman in Cuba before defecting in 1993. By then he had become one of the world’s best free divers.


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