7/18/14 - UPDATE: The young man who drowned on Wednesday at the Dique del Oeste area of Mallorca was not deep water soloing. He jumped into the ocean from the cliff, as he had done other times, but this time something went wrong. Earlier news reports had said he was a climber. The original story below has been amended to reflect this fact.
7/17/14 - A 23-year-old died yesterday at a deep water soloing area on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. After jumping from the cliffs at the Dique del Oeste area, the man stayed underwater for 20 minutes for unknown reasons and presumably drowned. Rescuers alerted by a companion of the man failed to revive him once he was brought to the surface.
Although deep water soloing (DWS or psicobloc) has obvious fun-in-the-sun appeal and the appearance of relatively safe—though potentially painful—falls into the sea, climbers have died while soloing along the coast of Mallorca. In 2012 a British climber drowned after falling into the sea while carrying gear, including at least one rope. Another British climber drowned in 2004 while deep water soloing in heavy seas.
The Dique del Oeste area, with routes up to 14 meters (46 feet) high, is a popular area for first-time deep water soloists, with a couple of traverses as well as routes that top out. See the video below for a look at the area.
Authorities recommend several ways to make deep water soloing safer:
• Never go DWS alone • Anchor a knotted rope to the shore or cliff line, allowing an easier escape from the sea, especially in rough waves • Consult with a local about conditions and hazards before climbing at an unfamiliar area