Police follow diver's request for no rescue mission

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Posted by on January 09, 2005 at 13:38:51:

In Reply to: Diver's body will stay in cave posted by on January 09, 2005 at 10:41:19:

Authorities will not attempt to recover the body of an Australian diver who has disappeared while trying to bring another man's body to the surface of a cave in South Africa.

When Dave Shaw decided to attempt to recover the body of South African Deon Dreyer, he requested no rescue mission should something go wrong.

Therefore his body will stay where it is, at the bottom of the world's third deepest freshwater cave north-west of Cape Town.

Deon Dreyer, 20, disappeared diving Bushman's Cave 10 years ago but his body was only found during a world record dive by Mr Shaw last year.

The Australian father of two wanted to retrieve the body for the family of his fellow diver but now the cave appears to have claimed his life as well - he lost contact with his dive team at 270 metres.

The 50-year-old, Hong Kong-based airline pilot started his dive early on Saturday morning.

"He promised Dreyer's parents that he would fetch the diver's body," the Afrikaans paper Rapport said.

He was supposed to descend to the cave's bottom for a few minutes, cut loose Mr Dreyer's body and put it into a body bag, before returning to the surface through a series of long-timing decompression stops.

But Ernst Strydom, the national coordinator for police divers, says Mr Shaw "is still down at the bottom and presumed dead".

"There's no chance someone can stay alive at that depth for that long," Mr Strydom said. "We do not have his body to conclusively say he is dead - that is why we say he is presumed dead."

Mr Strydom says Mr Shaw failed to show up at his first ascent stop.

At a media briefing on Friday, Mr Shaw prophetically warned that things could go terribly wrong.

"I am quietly confident that we will bring Deon to the surface," he said. "But if I feel something is not right I will abort the attempt. If anything goes wrong at this depth, it goes very wrong."

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