Diver Keith Sagray wasn’t just trying to stay underwater for six days to break a Guinness World Record. He was also raising money for a good cause. But after 35 hours, his dry suit failed spectacularly.
Sagray was diving near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands off Coki Point. His goal was to remain submerged 30 feet underwater there for at least 100 hours, shattering the previous world record of 72 hours. A support team had been set up to help him with air, food, water, and communications.
The attempt was part of a larger effort called Project Nautilus to raise a million dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sagray has a personal connection to Make-A-Wish. After his cousin was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, the organization arranged to have him hang out with the Minnesota Vikings.
Since hanging out underwater for so long can get boring, the Project Nautilus team was going to try and make an iPad work at depth. Turns out he didn’t need extra excitement.
Only 35 hours into his first dive, the electrical wiring in the dry suit malfunctioned. Sagray suffered from electrical shock, burns, and contusions, the Virgin Island Daily News reported. Seawater also got into his suit, causing hypothermia. But he recovered quickly enough to try the dive two more times. Only the dry suit problems persisted.
Sagray’s interest in scuba diving started as a teenager, and he has more than 25 years of experience that include recreational, professional, and commercial diving. He’s no quitter. “We’re putting our shoulders to the wheel and driving forward,” he told the Virgin Island Daily News.
With that incredible determination, I’m sure he’ll ultimately succeed — with the right suit.