Diver Sean McGahern has broken a previous world record for a cold water open sea dive, staying underwater for 12 hours and 34 minutes.

The previous record was of 11 hours 46 minutes.

Mr McGahern, dived into the water at St George's Bay at around midnight. The temperature was a stable 14 -15 degrees Celsius all throughout.

Speaking after his attempt, Mr McGahern said everything went smoothly. He entered the water three minutes later than scheduled and the experience was a good one. He even managed to take a 45 minute nap underwater.

While underwater, Mr McGahern and a team of safety divers cleared almost a truckload of plastic and glass bottles and piled another 20 tires on the seabed to be picked up.

The data will now be sent to the Guiness World Office in London and the result is expected in about a month.

Born in England, raised in Ireland and a resident in Malta for 17 years, Mr McGahern had previously held the warm water open sea dive record. He is hoping this record attempt will promote Malta as an ideal destination for divers and raise money for Dar tal-Providenza, a home for the disabled.

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