Diver's body will stay in cave

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Posted by on January 09, 2005 at 10:41:19:

In Reply to: Diver's body to be recovered from cave posted by on January 08, 2005 at 20:56:32:

Boesmansgat - There will be no search for Australian diver Dave Shaw who went missing on Saturday in the world's third deepest freshwater cave, Boesmansgat, in the Northern Cape.

Shaw and a team of technical divers attempted to recover the remains of Deon Dreyers, a diver who blacked out and drowned in the cave, while diving there in 1994.

Dreyer's body had been lying at a depth of 270m at the bottom of the cave.

Police commander of the operation, superintendent Ernest Strydom, told Sapa on Sunday that there was little chance of Shaw returning from the depths of the cave.

"We presume Dave is dead. His family have been informed."

Shaw was an airline pilot for Cathay Pacific.

Strydom said during preparations for Saturday's dive "it was apparently discussed and concluded that if something goes wrong the team will not attempt to search for the missing person".

"That was agreed beforehand because if your do that you endanger everyone's lives. Its a very individual type of sport."

Decompression illness

Strydom said diver Don Shirley - who is the dive's technical co-ordinator - "was recovering very well on Sunday after suffering from decompression illness". He returned to the surface on Saturday evening.

Strydom said Shirley, the diver's technical co-ordinator, descended 250m in an attempt to look for his team mate after Shaw failed to meet him at 220m.

But he began suffering from decompression sickness.

Vomiting and disorientated he returned to the surface at about 16:00 on Saturday and was placed in a decompression chamber.

Police diver Theo van Eeden said on Saturday Shaw's "rebreather could have packed up. Only he will know".

Rebreathers allow divers to stay under water for longer periods.

'Technical divers'

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.

They used closed-circuit rebreathers.

Unlike conventional scuba diving gear, rebreathers recycle exhaled gas by chemically scrubbing it of carbon dioxide with soda lime.

Thus diving on a rebreather is bubble-free, less wasteful of gas and allows more dive time.

In addition to the air and oxygen cylinders attached to the rebreather packs is also a cylinder of argon gas used to inflate the diver's suit and insulate the diver from the cold.

A day before the dive Shaw, who discovered Dreyer's body on October 28 last year, demonstrated how he had planned to seal Dreyer's remains into a green body bag.

Shaw was unable to bring Dreyer's body to the surface during his October dive as his oxygen cylinders were firmly embedded in the mud.

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