SCIENCE
09/30/2014 09:04 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2014

Man Sets New World Record For Deepest Scuba Dive After Plunging More Than 1,000 Feet

Scuba organizations say recreational divers shouldn't go below about 130 feet, but one Egyptian diver recently ventured a bit deeper -- going more than 1,000 feet below the ocean surface and setting a world record in the process.

The record-breaking dive took place last week, when Ahmed Gabr plunged about 1,090 feet into the Red Sea off the coast of Dahab, Egypt. According to Guinness World Records, that descent -- about as deep as New York City's Chrysler Building is tall -- is the deepest scuba dive ever.

It took Gabr 12 minutes to reach the record depth and the rest of the day to return to the surface, according to the Associated Press, which reported that Gabr dove into the sea on Thursday morning and surfaced after midnight.

"I traveled with nine tanks and decompressed for 14 hours [on the way back up]," the 41-year-old told NBC News, adding that he felt "unbelievable" when he finally emerged.

Why do scientists warn against diving so deep? When deep sea divers take the plunge, they face a wide range of risks, including decompression sickness and equipment malfunction as well as drowning. Decompression sickness, also referred to as "the bends," can happen if a diver ascends too quickly.

Gabr spent four years preparing for his record-breaking dive, according to Guinness World Records, and has about 17 years experience as a scuba diving instructor.

The previous record for the world's deepest dive was 1,044 feet, achieved by a South African scuba diver named Nuno Gomes. He clinched the record in 2005 with a dive also off the coast of Dahab.

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