Can You Survive If You Run Out Of Air?
Science tells us the human body can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen. But some people are defying this accepted truth.
By Richard Gray
There was a sickening crack when the thick cable connecting Chris Lemons to the ship above him snapped. This vital umbilical cord to the world above carried power, communications, heat and air to his diving suit 100m (328ft) below the surface of the sea.
While his colleagues remember the terrible noise of this lifeline breaking, Lemons himself heard nothing. One moment he was jammed against the metal underwater structure they had been working on and then he was tumbling backwards towards the ocean floor. His link to the ship above was gone, along with any hope of finding his way back to it.
Most crucially, his air supply had also vanished, leaving him with just six or seven minutes of emergency air supply. Over the next 30 minutes at the bottom of the North Sea, Lemons would experience something that few people have lived to talk about: he ran out of air.