Posted by on January 09, 2005 at 10:44:57:
In Reply to: One of the recovery divers died as well. + posted by Max Bottomtime on January 08, 2005 at 21:31:17:
Cave diver feared dead in bid to retrieve skeleton
AUSTRALIAN airline captain and diver Dave Shaw is still missing, presumed dead, after diving in one of the world's deepest freshwater caves in an attempt to retrieve the remains of a man who died there 10 years ago.
In October last year Shaw set a world record for a diver using rebreather apparatus when he reached 270m while diving in the 280m-deep Boesmansgat (bushman's cave) – the world's third deepest freshwater cave – in South Africa's Northern Cape Province.
It was during that dive that Shaw spied a skeleton in a wetsuit believed to be South African 20-year-old Deon Dreyer, who blacked out and drowned while diving in the cave during a family holiday. Within minutes his body had sunk 271m to the bottom of the cave.
Dreyer's parents, Theo and Marie Dreyer, have been desperately trying to recover his body since, saying they want to bring some closure to their loss and start healing.
They had just about resigned themselves to never finding their son's remains when Shaw made his grisly discovery.
Shaw met the Dreyers and told them that he would go back and attempt to fetch their son.
The South African Press Association reported that Shaw was the last man in a relay team of eight international divers, who were meant to pass Dreyer's body to the surface where his parents were waiting.
Shaw was last seen disappearing at about 270m. He then failed to meet one of his partners at what would have been his first designated stop at 220m on his way back to the surface.
Don Shirley, a fellow diver stationed at 220m, descended to search for Shaw after he could no longer spot Shaw's light in the dark waters.
Police Inspector Theo Van Eeden said there was little chance of Shaw resurfacing.
Cave Divers Association of Australia national director Warrick McDonald said Shaw would have known the risks of diving to great depths.
"He has seen people who were highly experienced die," Mr McDonald said.
"Cave diving is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. But in Australia we haven't had a death since 1984 because we are so tough – you can't become a cave diver without going through a rigorous training process."
Mr McDonald was critical of the closed-circuit rebreather used by Shaw for the dive into Boesmansgat.
"These things are death traps – the user-to-death rate ratio makes these things so dangerous as so many things can go wrong," he said.
Shaw has been living in Hong Kong since 1989 and was a training captain with Cathay Pacific Airways. His wife Ann is the deputy head of an international high school in Hong Kong. Their two adult children, Steven and Lisa, both live in Australia.
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