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Diving Pair Claims World Record with 205m Plunge; 'It is a Dice with Death'

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RED SEA, Egypt -- A diver from Borehamwood has plunged a death-defying 205 metres underwater to set a new world record.

Leigh Cunningham, 37, now carries the record for the deepest wreck dive, after making it down to a sunken cargo ship in pitch-black waters in the Red Sea, Egypt, last month.

His mother Deanna Cunningham, of Stratfield Road, Borehamwood, said she was proud of her son, who now lives in Egypt, but he was mad' to do it. "It is a dice with death," she said. "Nobody's ever been that deep before. It's unchartered territory. You need a back-up team of 50 people with nine doctors."

Mr Cunningham, who shared the record with his co-diver Mark Andrews, dives with a set of five gas tanks containing mixtures of helium, oxygen and nitrogen, which enables him to descend deeper than with pure oxygen. If he had breathed gas from the wrong tank, it could have been fatal.

It was the pair's third attempt at the record, which was made all the more difficult by fierce underwater currents Mr Cunningham's mother said he took up diving after being made redundant 13 years ago and has never looked back. "With his redundancy pay he decided to travel to Israel and got a job as a tour guide on a glass-bottom boat," she said. "Then he got sponsorship to dive, and now he's one of the best divers in the world."

u Mr Cunningham is the second Borehamwood man in recent months to capture a diving world record in August, Will Goodman, 28, of Stapleton Road, stayed underwater for 24 hours to complete the longest open-water dive.


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