In almost every way, the Netflix documentary “The Deepest Breath” lives up to its title. It is perplexing, fascinating, terrifying, and terrible in equal measure. This is because it gives us a thorough grasp of free diving, which is arguably the most dangerous and lethal extreme sport ever, by combining vintage film and original interviews. Of course, it also briefly cites a number of tragic cautionary tales, one of which, in our opinion, should have been the well-known incident with the late athlete Audrey Mestre in the autumn of 2002.
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When Audrey was a baby, she entered a French swimming pool or body of water for the very first time. In Saint Denis, Audrey was born on August 11, 1974, into a devoted family of snorkelers and divers. The sensation of waves lapping across her body at the time completely enchanted her, which ironically helped her win the 25-meter swimming championship at the tender age of 2. It should not thus be surprising that despite becoming a skilled scuba diver at the age of 13, French law required her to wait three more years before receiving her official certification.
When Audrey was 14 years old, she learned that she had scoliosis. As a result, she was required to wear a corset-like brace whenever she was on dry land, despite the fact that the water significantly reduced her pain. At this point, the entire Mestres family reportedly relocated to Mexico, and the teen later decided to enrol in a La Paz college in order to pursue a degree in marine biology. She was bound and determined to discover everything there was to know about the environment of a body of water with each swim or scuba dive in order to enjoy its depths even more.
Therefore, it goes without saying that Audrey’s life revolved around a variety of maritime activities and oceanic adventures. In fact, it was how she first met Francisco “Pipn” Ferreras, a Cuban athlete, in 1996. Since he had a history of health problems, such as asthma, poor vision, and limb deformities, she had actually merely wanted to study the highly skilled free diver’s techniques. However, the pair fell head over heels in love within just two days, and before their 1999 wedding, she moved into his Miami, Florida, home. Additionally, Pipn taught this French girl free diving, which allowed her to shatter numerous records.
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In the Dominican Republic’s Bayahibe Beach, Audrey perished on October 12, 2002, while trying a world record under her husband’s direct supervision. As she had done on training dives, her objective, according to sources, was to break the 170 metre barrier for a no-limits free-diving record. When she really made the attempt, though, things didn’t turn out as she had hoped. When she reached her target of 171 metres and opened the valve on her air tank, she found that she was unable to quickly climb to the surface because there was no air in the “lift bag.”
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The most terrifying part, though, is that despite a rescue diver getting to Audrey in time to blow up her bag, she was unable to ascend rapidly enough due to extremely strong underwater currents. Pipn wasted time trying to revive her in the water, which was against protocol, as there were no medical personnel nearby to treat her when she came out and her pulse was already pretty weak.
Audrey, age 28, spent more time underwater than she had planned—more than 812 minutes as opposed to her original plan of just over three—and was ultimately pronounced dead on shore. It’s crucial to remember that Pipn was in charge of examining his wife’s lift bag air tank and had forbade any other team members from coming close to it, which later raised a lot of controversy. As I said, these are merely rumours, but he is alleged to have pushed for this world record attempt to happen sooner than anticipated.
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