Bahamas: NYC freediver showed signs of drowning

AP News
Posted: Nov 29, 2013 6:01 PM

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — An autopsy has found that the death of a 32-year-old New York City man during a freediving competition in the Bahamas was consistent with a drowning, authorities said Friday.

Nicholas Mevoli died Nov. 17 after he surfaced from a 72-meter (236- foot) dive with breathing problems and lost consciousness.

Police Superintendent Stephen Dean declined to provide details and said officials would not release the autopsy report.

Officials with the Switzerland-based Association Internationale pour le Developpement de l'Apnee, or AIDA, have said they believe Mevoli suffered a depth-related injury to his lungs. The AIDA is the worldwide federation for breath-holding diving.

Mevoli had been trying to break a record at Dean's Blue Hole, which is considered the world's deepest underwater ocean sinkhole at 663 feet (202 meters). It is located off the coast of Long Island, about 164 miles (265 kilometers) southeast of the capital of Nassau.

The nine-day contest had attracted 56 divers from 21 countries vying for a $20,000 prize as they tried to see who could dive the deepest without fins. AIDA noted it was the first fatality in more than 20 years of competitions.

Mevoli had earlier broken the U.S. constant weight record for freediving shortly after launching his competitive career last year. He was a Florida native who lived in Brooklyn.