Female rebreather diver drowns after her air hose rips [Sanctum]

This one is one for my Hall of Fame!

I had that one my “to put on the blog”-list for ages, time that it finally appears here. I guess many know it already, but for those who don’t know it…. you will see a very intense scuba peril scene.

Two divers (one female, one male) exploring an underwater cave system. This is a dangerous task and they soon will realize that in a really bad way.


And here is the video (a longer version can be found below):

Watch the video before you continue!

Wow! That scene is really evil. The way she struggles to survive then panics and wants to have that scuba mask for herself, clawing on it…

…and then tries to get it back…while she weakens with every second she is out of air. Intense!

In most aspects this drowning is very realistic, the way she swallows water after she runs out of air….you won’t see a scene like that often (in a “normal” movie or TV series).

She has doomed herself after damaging her precious air hose in a tunnel before.

Some aspects of this scene are weird to me:

—> 1) Why are there no bubbles as she damages the air hose in the tunnel? She should realize the damage herself right away. Even it started with “only” a tear in the air hose…you should be able to see that. Or he should be able to realize that much earlier….

—> 2) Ok, buddy breathing with that equipment costs a lot of oxygen. Shouldn’t they try to move in a direction together? Anywhere to safety? Buddy breathing and staying on the same point….is completely useless since no help will come to them in time. They would run out of air and would both die.

—> 3) They dive around in caves without any backup systems? Ok, they had to leave the bailout tanks, because of a very narrow tunnel. But hey, shouldn’t there be a second regulator and other safety precautions? Seems pretty…. MAD ….diving in caves like that….in my opinion.

But ok, how many new scuba scenes like this show up? Well, very few in the last 20 years. And it’s my first scene where a woman with a rebreather drowns…UNIQUE!

And the struggling and drowning are done very well!

This scene is from that movie:


A longer version of this scene (over 7 minutes in total), that wasn’t allowed on YouTube:

Sanctum – long version

Some more pictures:

What do you think of that scene?

Feel welcome to leave your comment below!




15 thoughts on “Female rebreather diver drowns after her air hose rips [Sanctum]”

  1. This scene pretty much convinced me that James Cameron has a thing for underwater/drowning/out of air stuff. He wasn’t the director for this movie, but he was the producer, and he’s also been involved in Piranha 2 (main character is a female scuba instructor), Titanic (plenty of (near)drowning scenes), The Abyss (the most graphic drowning scene ever made at the time), and he had plans of making a movie about Audrey Mestre’s free diving accident as well.

    As for this scene, I read somewhere that they didn’t actually use rebreathers for filming, but regular scuba gear they had simply made to look like rebreathers. I’m not rebreather certified, but I’m pretty sure it’s not even possible to share air the way they do in this scene anyway, since a rebreather system recycles the same air rather than giving new air. That’s why rebreather divers that lose consciousness underwater often sink like a stone because their circuits flood and they become negatively bouyant.
    The female stunt diver in this movie (Agnes Milowka) actually drowned shortly after the movie was made during a semi solo cave dive.

    • Yeah, James Cameron seems to be one of “us”. The next Avatar will play underwater…. 😉
      About the rebreather and the shared air…well, I don’t know much about rebreathers. But in this scene they have several bottles with them, and they are working on a valve every time they flood the mask with oxygen…..
      Hard to say, I guess I need to take a closer look at the technique of these things.
      Yeah, heard that she drowned in real life…yeah a real shame. But I don’t really get the fascination of cave diving… just rocks, it’s narrow and really dangerous.
      I think most cave divers need that kick to feel alive.
      I rather stick to “normal” diving, that’s exciting/dangerous enough (for me).

  2. One of the cave explorers states halfway through the film( referring to the re breather)” if you don’t close the valve and water gets in the loop it’s all over”
    I have not used a re breather but I am familiar with divers who do. They nearly always carry a bail out bottle for such emergencies and all divers who use an FFM. Always have a normal dive mask with them as backup. This set up is followed even more so for cave diving as there is no way to the surface. That said this was one of the more accurate diving movies and you can tell Cameron has an interest in marine engineering. The drowning scene was realistic and scary, I gave seen genuine panic underwater and experienced it myself once, it’s not pleasant and this film captured it best.

  3. amazing scene….the actress is very convincing….you really believe she is drowning.

    I guess the male diver decided that the situation was hopeless and just let her drown but he comes across as quite callous.

  4. I especially respect this actress because she got to do her own underwater stunts in many scenes during her career. But “Sanctum” stinks because of its misogyny.

  5. Callous men and weak women. Primitive characters. An outdated movie for caveman.
    James Cameron didn’t direct, write and produce this movie. He was only executive producer. Women are less stereotyped and stronger in his movies.

  6. I see your poin V, the two women in this film initially came across as capable adventures. But both gave in to panic and on both occasions it killed them.
    I can’t think of another James Cameron film we’re that happened. Vasquez died going hand to hand with aliens, Lyndsey drowned as an act of self sacrifice and with dignity. Even rose found iner strength she never knew she had. As for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Conner they pretty much wrote the book on action heroines.
    Though I did quite fancy the second woman in sanctum , she looked really sexy in her caving overalls and hard hat.

  7. Thank you Tim. You wrote exactly what I meant.
    Victoria tangles her hair. She cuts rope instead of her hair. Actress is sexy but I guess screenwriter was drunk and dumb.


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