Last Breath (2019 film)

Last Breath is a 2019 documentary film directed by Richard da Costa and Alex Parkinson. It relates the story of a serious saturation diving accident in 2012, when diver Chris Lemons had his umbilical cable severed and became trapped around 100 metres under the sea without heat or light, and with only the small amount of breathing gas in his backup tank.[3]

Last Breath
Directed byRichard da Costa
Alex Parkinson[1]
Produced byRichard da Costa
Dylan Williams
Alex Parkinson
Al Morrow
Stewart Le Marechal
Angus Lamont
Written byAlex Parkinson
Music byPaul Leonard-Morgan
CinematographyAlistair McCormick
Edited bySam Rogers
Distributed byDogwoof[2]
Release date
  • 5 April 2019 (2019-April-05) (United Kingdom)
Running time
1hr 26m

Plot summary

The documentary uses genuine footage and audio recorded at the time of the accident on the divers' radios and body cameras, supplemented with interviews of several of the individuals involved, as well as some reconstructed footage, to tell the story of the accident.[3][4]

Chris Lemons, along with his colleagues Duncan Allcock and David Yuasa,[5] were carrying out repairs 100m below the surface of the North Sea, supported by the support vessel Bibby Topaz.[5] The vessel's dynamic positioning system failed, causing it to drift in rough seas, dragging the divers away from the area they were working and eventually snapping the umbilical tether that provided Lemons with heliox to breathe, as well as hot water to heat his suit, power for his light, and a radio link to the surface.[6] He was left with only the few minutes of breathable gas contained in the cylinders he wore on his back.[3]

For reasons that are unclear to Lemons and his colleagues, but attributed in part to the cold water and having been breathing air with a high partial pressure of oxygen, Lemons survived for around 30 minutes while he was located by a remote underwater vehicle and then by Yuasa, who was able to pull him back onboard the diving bell.[3]


Reviews of the documentary were mixed. Empire Magazine gave it 3 stars, describing it as 'a great story' but comparing it unfavourably to similar survival documentaries such as Touching the Void.[3] The Financial Times awarded 4 stars, and called it a 'powerful documentary'.[7]


Last Breath was distributed in the UK by Dogwoof and was released simultaneously in cinemas and on Netflix on 5 April 2019.[2]

In France the documentary was distributed by Arte on 11 September 2019 with the title Le survivant des abysses.[8]


  1. "Last Breath (2019) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  2. Grater, Tom (10 January 2019). "Dogwoof boards UK rights to diving disaster doc 'Last Breath' (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  3. Jolin, Dan (1 April 2019). "Last Breath Review". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  4. Felperin, Leslie (5 April 2019). "Last Breath review – deep-sea disaster doc racks up the suspense". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  5. Evans, Chris (4 April 2019). "The Last Breath: how diver Chris Lemons survived without oxygen for 30 minutes on the seabed". i. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  6. "The true story of diver Chris Lemons and the film Last Breath". The Times. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  7. Andrews, Nigel (3 April 2019). "Last Breath — powerful documentary about a North Sea diver's fateful accident". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  8. "Le survivant des abysses". ARTE - Guide TV. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
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