Australian diver declared dead

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Posted by on January 09, 2005 at 10:47:24:

In Reply to: One of the recovery divers died as well. + posted by Max Bottomtime on January 08, 2005 at 21:31:17:

AN Australian diver attempting to recover a body at the bottom of one of the deepest freshwater caves in the world has been declared presumed dead, South African police said today.

Deep-water diver Dave Shaw was presumed dead today, a day after he swam almost to the bottom of the 280m Boesmansgat (Bushman's cave) in the Northern Cape to recover the body of Deon Dreyer, who died while diving in the cave in 1994.

"He is still down at the bottom and presumed dead. There's no chance someone can stay alive at that depth for that long," Ernst Strydom, the national coordinator for police divers, said.

"We do not have his body to conclusively say he is dead; that is why we say he is presumed dead."

Police said Mr Shaw and other deep-water experts had found Mr Dreyer's remains in the cave on a previous expedition while attempting to set a new deep-water diving record, and had decided to try to recover the remains.

Concern was first raised about Mr Shaw when he failed to appear at a designated meeting point on his way back to the surface at a depth of about 220 metres.

Cave Divers Association of Australia national director Warrick McDonald said Mr Shaw had probably fallen victim to an equipment malfunction, possibly with his rebreather, which recycled expired air.

On his website, Mr Shaw said he and a team of divers had planned yesterday's mission since October, when he discovered Mr Dreyer's body during a world-record descent.

Strydom said Mr Shaw had requested that none of his colleagues in the team of eight international divers should try to retrieve his body in case of an accident.

His family had been informed of the death.

Mr Shaw - originally from Perth - was a captain with Cathay Pacific Airways. Together with his wife Ann, Mr Shaw had lived in Hong Kong since 1989. His two adult children, Steven and Lisa, lived in Australia.

Mr Dreyer, a South African, died while diving in the cave in 1994, aged 20, during a family holiday.

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