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Man Lounges His Way to Scuba Record

September 05, 2004|From Associated Press

HAMPTON, Tenn. — A Tennessee man beat his own record for staying underwater with scuba gear after five days in a lake -- complete with recliner, a checkerboard, music and good friends to keep him company.

Then Jerry Hall cheerfully signed a pledge to his wife never to do it again.

"I had the easy job," Hall said. "It was my dive team that did all the work. I kept them hopping all the time, and they never once complained. Whatever I wanted or needed, they were there for me."

Hall, 39, of Bluff City, Tenn., already is in the the Guinness World Book of Records for staying underwater with scuba gear for 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds.

He surpassed that at 9:56 a.m. on Wednesday and didn't leave Watauga Lake in eastern Tennessee until Friday morning with a time of 120 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds.

"That knot in the pit of my stomach is gone and I'm glad he's all right," said his wife, Vicky.

Hall and his team of 10 divers trained for this feat for a year.

They used a platform lowered to 13 feet below the surface. A recliner was harnessed to the dive deck, and Hall napped there for as many as four hours at a time. An underwater speaker broadcast music, and Hall passed the hours with a checkerboard made of an aluminum plate.

"Everybody that came down there to play checkers beat me," Hall said. "I'm giving them up."

During the dive, Hall nibbled on food that was sent down to him, such as apples and candy bars, by temporarily removing his breathing gear. But he relied mostly on water from a pouch-like drinking system used by cyclists and hikers.

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