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August
Go to new depths with latest Omnimax Show

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The story of deep-water diving's greatest heroes will be presented in the latest Omnimax Show at the Hong Kong Space Museum.

Until January 31 next year, the Space Museum will be showing "OceanMen: Extreme Dive", which chronicles the history of the extreme sport.

The first diving challenge is believed to have taken place among spear fishermen in Italy in about 1950. Scientists then believed a man would be crushed to death if he dived below 30 metres. By 1965, a strong rivalry for world records had developed between Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca. For 20 years, they drove each other deeper, employing whatever means possible to descend further into the sea. Eventually, using heavy weights, they both passed the seemingly impossible barrier of 100 metres.

Today, freedivers Pipin Ferreras from Cuba and Umberto Pelizzari from Italy have a similar rivalry. Like Maiorca and Mayol, they have been breaking each other's records, using whatever techniques are available.

Ferreras focuses on reaching the ultimate human depth by using the discipline of "No Limits" to plummet ever deeper on a weighted sled, then rises with the help of a balloon.

Pelizzari rejects the sled and concentrates on a discipline known as "Constant Weight", using his body to dive as far down as possible and return with no artificial help.


However, deep diving is a dangerous exercise, which puts the human body under extreme pressure - 235 pounds per square inch - that is likely to burst the eardrums and collapse the chest. In most cases, free-diving deaths occur when divers stay too long at depth, causing a prolonged drop of the oxygen level in the blood.

Nevertheless, Ferreras and Pelizzari continue to strive for unprecedented and seemingly impossible record dives. The world champion freediver, Pipin, tries to dive more than 162 metres, the equivalent of a 50-storey building which is deeper than any human has gone on a single lungful of air, while Umberto aims to reach 80 metres to achieve a "Constant Weight" record.

"OceanMen: Extreme Dive" will plunge the audience into this world of bitter rivalry - a blue world of danger and stunning beauty. Computer graphics will also take viewers on a tour of the divers' bodies to witness the changes that take place when they descend to record-breaking depths.

The 40-minute Omnimax Show screens at 1.30pm, 5pm and 8.30pm daily. The Space Museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Tickets are available at the Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets at $24 (front stalls) and $32 (stalls), with half-price concession for full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

During August, those who buy an admission ticket for the Space Theatre will receive a complimentary museum admission coupon. The coupon will be valid until September 30 at the Exhibition Halls of the Space Museum, Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence (except for the special exhibitions with separate charges).

The Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, please call 2721 0226 or visit the website at http://hk.space.musuem.

End/Friday, August 1, 2003

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