We are sad to announce that Nicholas Mevoli (USA) tragically lost his life on Sunday.
It was meant to be a friendly gathering in which the world's top freedivers pushed new depths of the sport. As has been widely reported, events during Sunday's Suunto Vertical Blue took a tragic turn and the competition was naturally cancelled.
It is the first time anyone has died during 10 years of AIDA-regulated events and it has left the small community — and everyone at Suunto — deeply saddened.
The exact cause of death is still unknown.
In a tribute on Facebook, organizer William Trubridge wrote: “We lost a man who was a friend to everyone he met, and who I was lucky enough to share so many experiences with this year. He touched my life and inspired me as he did so many others.”
AIDA has announced that it will carry out a review of what happened to discover what learnings can be shared. Although the sport has, until now, had an enviable safety record freedivers are the first to acknowledge that much is still unknown about what happens to the body at depth.
This is also part of freediving's appeal — every dive is an act of personal exploration and everyone in the sport is aware that — like Himalayan climbing — it comes with risks.
Since the competition's cancellation, the only thing everyone in the freediving community is doing is finding ways to celebrate Nick Mevoli's life. During a private ceremony at Dean's Blue Hole the day after the accident, his friends and fellow freedivers did just that, gathering in the water to pay homage to a remarkable man.