Where is Alessia Zecchini now and what happened to Stephen Keenan? The Deepest Breath ending explained

The new Netflix documentary tells the story of an ambitious free diver that ends in tragedy, and viewers want to know where Alessia Zecchini is now.

Stephen Keenan (left) and Alessia Zecchini (right) wearing wetsuits
(Image credit: Netflixx)

The Deepest Breath has viewers on the edge of their seat, and many want to know where Alessia Zecchini is after a disastrous dive, and what happened to Stephen Keenan.

The new documentary explores the dangerous world of free diving through world-record holding Alessia Zecchini and renowned coach and safety instructor Stephen Keenan. The film used real footage, as well as some archive video and reconstruction, to document the pair's achievements together. The film ends in a dive attempt in Egypt that went tragically wrong, leaving viewers wanting to know more about what happened after The Deepest Breath ending.

It's not the only documentary that has had viewers wanting to know more in recent days, after true crime story The Lucy Blackman Case has many wondering where Joji Obara is now and The Lady of Silence left others asking questions about where Juana Barraza is too. Elsewhere, the more lighthearted Wham! documentary had fans wanting to know what happened to Andrew Ridgeley

Where is Alessia Zecchini now?

Alessia Zecchini is still a free diver. The Italian diver has set many world records in the sport, and was inspired by Natalia Molchanova, a legendary Russian champion free diver. She first started training at just 13 years old.

According to her official website, which describes her as the "deepest woman in the world", Alessia is the holder of 35 world records, and has also been awarded 17 world gold medals. In May 2023, she set a new world record of -123m when diving with a monofin - a single fin worn on the diver's feet - in the Philippines.

To mark the release of The Deepest Breath, Alessia shared a moving post on Instagram explaining her reasons for taking part in the documentary, and dedicating her participation to her safety diver, Stephen. She wrote: "The only reason I agreed to be a part of it is to let the world know what a wonderful and special person he was, so that even those who don't know what freediving is can appreciate his immense humanity."

She added, "The film tells the story of our lives coming together through free diving: a path, unfortunately short, that gave us beautiful and unforgettable memories until the tragic ending."

Free diving world record

The record for the deepest free dive is 214m, and is held by Austrian world champion Herbert Nitsch, who set the record on 14 June 2007 in Spetses, Greece.

Tanya Streeter is the female World Champion free diver, diving to a depth of 160 meters in the blue water of Club Med Turkoise, Turks & Caicos, in a total time of 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

What happened to Stephen Keenan?

Stephen Keenan sadly died while helping Alessia Zecchini dive in The Blue Hole in Egypt - one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world. He helped guide Alessia to the surface after the dive went wrong, and did not survive the incident.

Alessia was not fully conscious for the ascent, and it is thought that Stephen pushed her upwards before blacking out himself. He was found lying face down on the surface of the water, unable to be revived.

At the very end of the Netflix documentary, Zecchini reflects on the dive, saying: "Maybe I could have done more. If I'd been more conscious, I don't know. The worst thing is we couldn't do anything, we couldn't save him. He rescued me, but I couldn't rescue him."

Meanwhile, in an interview with LA Times, director Laura McGann explained how The Blue Hole moment in the documentary was shot. "We didn't re-create the accident," she said. "We went out to the Blue Hole and Alessia just dove down a little bit. Because the arch is so deep, it's not something that freedivers try to do any more. In order to get some shots of her under what looked like the arch, we went to the cenote in Mexico. It's much shallower - just two meters. Obviously, safety was our number one thing. We certainly weren't going to take any risks."

Stephen Keenan in a wetsuit holding an Irish flag

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who dies in The Deepest Breath?

Stephen Keenan dies in Netflix's The Deepest Breath. Stephen was an Irish record-setting free diver and safety instructor, meaning he monitored free divers for the last 30m before they resurface - as this is when they’re at the highest risk of blacking out due to oxygen deprivation.

He successfully coached Alessia to set the world record for constant weight free diving at 104 meters - which she has since broken - and it was after this that the pair set their sights on The Blue Hole.

Stephen was familiar with The Blue Hole, as he had settled in Dahab, Egypt, where he discovered the world of free diving while working as a scuba diving instructor. It was this that led him to become a safety instructor, and he met Alessia when working as the safety chief at the Vertical Blue free diving competition.

He offered to train her, and the pair developed a romantic connection too.

The Deepest Breath ending explained

The ending of The Deepest Breath portrays Stephen Keenan's final dive at The Blue Hole in Egypt. Having achieved a personal best and breaking a world record at free diving competition Vertical Blue, Alessia Zecchini decided to take on The Blue Hole - one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world.

Alessia and Stephen had meticulously planned the descent, which meant diving down before swimming through an underwater archway without a guiding rope. Stephen was supposed to meet Alessia at the other end of the tunnel at a depth of 50m, but the timings didn't work out and they ended up missing one another.

Alessia left the arch before Stephen got there, and she couldn’t find the underwater line to follow up to the ocean’s surface. When Stephen arrived at the meeting point, he saw her swimming away in the wrong direction and went after her.

Both divers were losing consciousness on the way up, and it's thought that Stephen used his final moments to put Alessia in a position that would enable her to breathe as she reached the surface.

In other TV news, we've taken a look at the true story behind new BBC drama The Sixth Commandment, revealing where Ben Field is now and what happened to his friend Martyn Smith. Plus, we've taken a look at The Sixth Commandment filming locations too.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.