Scuba divers begin living underwater

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Divers will attempt to stay submerged for 10 days, doubling the previous 120-hour record.

PONZA, Italy -- Two Italian scuba divers spent Thursday underwater, starting what they hope will be a record 10 days submerged -- aided by a special dry chamber where they can change masks and eat.

Stefano Barbaresi, 37, and Stefania Mensa, 29, completed the first day living 26 feet under water off the island of Ponza.

They have nine days to go to reach their goal of 240 hours -- doubling the 120 hours set by Jerry Hall of Bluff City, Tenn., in eastern Tennessee's Watauga Lake, according to the Guinness world records.

"It's a unique opportunity to understand the limits of mankind under the sea," project organizer Pierfranco Bozzi said, according to the Milan daily Corriere della Sera.

The divers' new home has beds, exercise machines, table and chairs and even a television -- all anchored to the sea floor.

Every five to six hours, the two will be able to enter a dry chamber where they can do such things as dine and change masks as well as undergo examinations by researchers, from several Italian hospitals and Rome's Sapienza University.

Scientists will monitor the divers' heart rates and ear drums, Corriere reported.

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