Diver's body to be recovered from cave

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Posted by on January 08, 2005 at 20:56:32:

A team of divers, police and paramedics have descended on the small town of Danielskuil in the Northern Cape, located 80km south of Kuruman, to recover a body.

Located 30km from Danielskuil is Boesmansgat the world's third deepest fresh water cave.

In 1994, while diving in the cave with his father, Deon Dreyer, then 20, blacked out and sank to the bottom.

Remains at depth of 270m

On October 28 last year, Australian diver Dave Shaw found Deon's remains at a depth of almost 270m.

Shaw was unable to take the body to the surface as Deon's cylinders were stuck in the mud.

This week, the diving team staged a "dress rehearsal" at the cave for Saturday's body recovery attempt.

Recovery a "small military operation"

This follows four weeks of preparing for what Don Shirley, the team's technical coordinator, described as a "small military operation."

If everything goes according to plan, Shaw will dive to the bottom of the cave and seal Deon's remains in a body bag.

It will then be relayed to the surface by eight divers positioned at regular intervals.

The process is expected to take just over an hour.

Once the body is at the surface, Deon's parents Theo and Marie will be granted a few minutes with the body of their son.

Theo Dreyer requested that his church minister be present.

Deon Dreyer's remains will then be taken to a mortuary in Bloemfontein, where an autopsy will be conducted.

State of body uncertain

The police's national dive commander, Superintendent Ernest Strydom, was not too certain what state the body would in, but said he did not expect much flesh on the body.

The divers involved are all "technical divers" and members of the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers.

Technical diving is an advanced form of scuba diving and uses special methods and equipment to explore environments and perform tasks beyond the range of recreational diving.

Shaw and his team of divers are going to be equipped with closed-circuit rebreathers as opposed to traditional scuba equipment.

Rebreathers allow divers to stay under water for longer periods.

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