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Unbelievable footage captures the moment astronaut almost drowned in space

Unbelievable footage captures the moment astronaut almost drowned in space

Luca Parmitano was left unable to see as water filled his helmet

Terrifying footage caught from the International Space Station shows the moment an Italian astronaut almost drowned inside his own helmet.

When you're floating around thousands of miles above oceans, swimming pools and even rain, drowning is probably the last thing on your mind.

We don't typically think of space as a particularly wet place at all, and yet in July 2013 astronaut Luca Parmitano found himself at risk of drowning as his helmet began to fill up with water.

Thankfully he lived to tell the tale, and Parmitano described just how close he came to danger in his European Space Agency blog.

The incident took place while Parmitano conducted a spacewalk for an Extravehicular Activity which was planned to last six hours.

While working with cables outside the ISS, Parmitano recalled: "The unexpected sensation of water at the back of my neck surprises me – and I'm in a place where I'd rather not be surprised."

Luca Parmitano noticed an unusual amount of water in his helmet.
ABC News

Parmitano radioed to Houston to tell them of the build up of water, but at first those on the ground didn't realize the seriousness of the issue.

"On the ground, Shane confirms they have received my message and he asks me to await instructions," Parmitano explained.

"Chris, who has just finished, is still nearby and he moves towards me to see if he can see anything and identify the source of the water in my helmet."

Footage from the space walk shows the astronauts attempting to determine the source of the water, with Pamitano recalling how they thought it must have been 'drinking water from [his] flask', or even sweat.

"But I think the liquid is too cold to be sweat, and more importantly, I can feel it increasing," he said.

Luca was on a six-hour mission when the incident took place.
ABC News

Parmitano was instructed to go back to the airlock while his fellow astronaut secured everything outside.

As he made his way back, the water continued to rise until it 'almost completely covered the front of [his] visor'. As well as the water compromising his vision, Parmitano began to struggle even more when the sun set.

"My ability to see – already compromised by the water – completely vanishes, making my eyes useless," he wrote. "But worse than that, the water covers my nose – a really awful sensation that I make worse by my vain attempts to move the water by shaking my head.

"By now, the upper part of the helmet is full of water and I can't even be sure that the next time I breathe I will fill my lungs with air and not liquid."

Unable to see in front of him, Parmitano no longer knew which direction he should be heading.

Luca was thankfully able to make it back to the ISS.
ABC News

He came up with the idea to follow his safety cable back to the airlock, where he had to wait for repressurization to take place before he could take off the helmet.

"Now that we are repressurizing, I know that if the water does overwhelm me I can always open the helmet. I'll probably lose consciousness, but in any case that would be better than drowning inside the helmet," the astronaut said.

Parmitano was finally able to take off the helmet and get his sight and sound back, luckily before the water fully took over and stopped him from breathing.

Looking back on the experience, Parmitano described space as a 'harsh, inhospitable frontier', adding: "We are explorers, not colonizers. The skills of our engineers and the technology surrounding us make things appear simple when they are not, and perhaps we forget this sometimes. Better not to forget."

Featured Image Credit: NASA / YouTube/VideoFromSpace

Topics: International Space Station, Space, Science