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Investigation Started Into Freediving Competition Incident

In a recent Freediving competition in the Philippines during January, an incident occurred during a Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) dive that caused one of the athletes to have an underwater blackout, this caused the competition rescue procedures to be activated and medical assistance given to revive the athlete.  The diver reportedly recovered quickly and is not suffering any consequences from the incident.

News broke on Facebook of the incident when the competition doctor posted his perspective on the incident and it attracted widespread speculation and criticism of the safety team and organizers, despite very little information being publicly available.  The posts on Facebook have been subsequently been removed by their authors after very heated responses by the global Freediving community which again caused anger with several Facebook members accusing officials of censoring debate.

AIDA International, the global freediving federation that rules governed this competition, has launched an investigation into what happened and has issued the following statement to the media and on Facebook:

“To continue getting better, the first step is to analyze what goes wrong and share the info with all of you. From this perspective we are informing you today that an underwater black-out is currently investigated by a work group led by the AIDA Vice President Mario Zuzic and AIDA Medical Officer Kerry Hollowell. The incident happened during a Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) competition in the Philippines on the 31st of January. The preliminary information indicates a BO at 23m depth, the activation of the counter ballast system and the intervention of the medical team to revive the athlete. We are now in the process of gathering all information applicable to improve the existing safety protocols and we will share the conclusions with you as soon as we finalize the investigation.”
Alex Russu, AIDA PR

Details around the exact circumstances of the incident are still vague and we hope that the investigation and results are published quickly along with any corrective actions that AIDA and it’s members need to take to help prevent further incidents at competitions.  Luckily the athlete seems unharmed in this incident but everything must be done to ensure athletes, judges and safety divers are safe during Freediving competitions.

We will be keeping a close eye on the investigation and it’s results and will report back when more details are available.

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.