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Last Updated: Tuesday September 20 2005 17:04 GMT

Divers set new underwater record

Diver exercises underwater
Two divers have broken a record for staying underwater for 10 days - the longest period of time ever.

Italians Stefania Mensa and Stefano Barbaresi emerged looking happy but tired after their time living in the sea at a depth of up to eight metres.

They spent a total of 240 hours in their watery home, breaking the previous US record of 107 hours.

To make their stay more comfortable the divers were given exercise machines, a television, a table and some chairs.

And every five or six hours they were allowed to enter a dry chamber to eat and change masks.

Research

The divers toast their record breaking attempt
As Stefania and Stefano got out of the water, doctors were on hand to check that their skin condition, blood pressure and breathing were all okay.

The team behind the dive hope to find out more about what happens to the body after living underwater, and want to carry out further experiments to find out more.

"When we started we didn't have the idea of what we could do... It's really half-way between a record and a scientific expedition", said Giovanni Calcagnini, the team engineer.



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