Ferreras, born in Cuba, came to South Florida in the mid-1990s. He set world records for deep free-diving that generated wide media attention and gave a major boost to a sport that was popular in Europe and the Caribbean but had been little-known in the U.S.
Ferreras married Mestre after they met during one of his world-record dives, and he trained her as a competitive free diver. After Cayman Islands native Tanya Streeter set a womens no-limits world record of 524 feet in 2002, Ferreras announced his wife would attempt to beat that mark by diving to 561 feet.
Mestre made the dive but drowned before she could get back to the surface. The small air tank that was supposed to fill the balloon for the quick return trip did not have enough air. A deep rescue diver carried her, unconscious, toward the surface where Ferreras, diving on scuba tanks, picked her up and brought her to a waiting boat. Efforts to revive her failed.
The tragedy was the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, two books, and several television news programs, including ESPN Films Nine for IX documentary, No Limits, that premiered last month.
In 2007, Ferreras former friend and business partner Carlos Serra wrote a book, The Last Attempt, in which he accused Ferreras of deliberately failing to fill Mestres air tank so that Ferreras could hold on to his world record, stage a dramatic rescue and focus international media attention back on himself.
Ferreras vows to address those allegations in his upcoming documentary but insists it was Serra who was in charge of operations on the day of the fatal dive and was supposed to make sure Mestres tank was full.
Its very sick what he says, Ferreras said. I didnt know people can be so evil, maybe because Im so naïve. I risked my life to go to 100 meters and bring Audrey back to the surface.
He said he is considering legal action against ESPN over the No Limits documentary.
Meanwhile, Ferreras said, he is concentrating on his upcoming dives.
What Im doing is not competition. Its a scientific experiment, he said. Its going to be a world record, anyway.