Ital­ian free diver Enzo Maiorca dies in Si­cily aged 85

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Enzo Maiorca, a leg­end in free div­ing, died yes­ter­day in his na­tive Si­cily. He was 85.

Gian­carlo Garozzo, mayor of Syra­cuse in Si­cily, said Maiorca died there but didn't cite cause of death.

Maiorca's friendly ri­valry with diver Jac­ques Mayol in­spired much of a 1988 film, "The Big Blue," di­rected by Luc Bes­son. The two divers com­peted against each other start­ing in 1966, tak­ing turns as the record holder for free div­ing.

When they reached 249 feet (about 73 me­ters) in 1970, the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion ruled the depths too dan­ger­ous and re­fused to ac­cept fur­ther records.

Ital­ian me­dia, who had dubbed Maiorca the "lord of the abysses," re­ported that when Maiorca was 57 he dove to a depth of 101 me­ters (373 feet).

Af­ter quit­ting com­pet­i­tive div­ing, an Ital­ian navy state­ment says, Maiorca ded­i­cated him­self to pro­tect­ing the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment.

Maiorca has said he aban­doned spear fish­ing af­ter he felt the beat­ing heart of a grouper he had speared and was try­ing to capture.

"I tried my best but the fish was sim­ply fight­ing to sur­vive," DIVER mag­a­zine quoted him as say­ing in 2014.

Maiorca was quoted as say­ing he did scuba div­ing into his 80s, but that his free-div­ing days were be­hind him.

The Si­cil­ian news­pa­per Il Gior­nale di Si­cilia said Maiorca learned to swim at age 4 but quoted him as say­ing he had "a great fear of the sea."

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