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September 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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“The Most Dangerous Dive Site in the World” Claims Free Diver

from the September, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Blue Hole at Dahab, along the Red Sea coast of Egypt's Sinai, is probably a collapsed cave like the Blue Holes of the Bahamas or Belize. It attracts divers from all over Europe because it is very deep with calm water protected from the open sea.

Daring divers descend to the top of an arch at 185 ft. (56m) then swim through the 87 ft. (26m) long tunnel so formed from which one can see the blue water of the open ocean. However, at least 40 scuba divers have lost their lives there since 1980, many losing track of their depth, failing to keep close to the top of the arch, and suffering nitrogen narcosis. It is often called "the most dangerous dive site in the world," yet apart from the depth, there is nothing to make it so.

More recently, free divers have taken the challenge of passing through the arch on a single held breath.

Irish free diver Stephen Keenan, 39, who held the record for a deep water rescue at 130ft (40m), was known as the most trusted man in free diving, but on 22nd July he perished providing safety cover for free diver Alessia Zecchini who sought to swim through the arch after a free dive from the surface. Zecchini went astray, and while Keenan successfully led her to safety, he suffered a shallow water blackout and drowned.

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