'Boesmansgat (Bushmans Hole), South Africa.'
An attempted body recovery in one of the world’s deepest
By Don Shirley
|Boesmansgat is a cave in the Northern
Cape, South Africa; it is entered through a puddle, then a slot
in the floor, which opens up into a magnificent chamber, in
which you could place the Eiffel Tower.
In October 2004, Dave Shaw did a record breaking dive on closed
circuit rebreather to 270 meters, tied off his reel to the main
shot line and started exploring the bottom of Boesmansgat; unheard
of at that depth. He soon came across Deon Dreyer, lost 10 years
earlier on a dive, and tied the line to him to enable his body
to be found again.
Plans were quickly made to recover Deon’s body across
continents, and on 8 January 2005, Dave was back in South Africa
to attempt the recovery. The events that followed became one
of the most public diving incidents ever.
The recovery dive went very wrong. Dave wasn’t at the
prescribed turn around depth to meet his buddy, Don Shirley.
Don could see Dave’s light at the bottom, and decided
to go to his alternate plan to descend to the bottom and see
if Dave could be helped.
|At 250 meters, his handset imploded and he had
to abort. Approximately an hour and a half later Don was in
his own life and death struggle, where he had to survive for
a gruelling 10 hours whilst doing his decompression obligations.
This is a story of not giving up against all odds. It is also
a story of friendship and how far dive buddies will go when
one of theirs is in danger.
Note:- Boesmansgat is the actual Afrikaans
name, which translates to Bushmans Hole.
Information and contacting Don Shirley:-
News at the time of incident
Divers recover two bodies from Boesmansgat cave
The bodies of divers David Shaw and Deon Dreyer have been successfully
recovered from Boesmansgat cave, North Cape, South Africa. Shaw
was lost in an earlier attempt to recover Dreyer's body.
The international team of divers who assembled to recover Dreyer's
body at the beginning of January were taking out their lines
and equipment from the cave when the two bodies came to the
Shaw, who was lost on the initial attempt
to recover Dreyer's body, appears to have become entangled
in the line that he was attaching to the body. Under normal
circumstances, an experienced diver would have no trouble
in cutting themself free, but the effort required to do so
is likely to have proved excessive at 270m.
Shaw had earlier told the team not to attempt
any dive to recover his body if he did not return.
The bodies were spotted at a depth of 25m,
entangled in line, having been brought to the surface as lines
and diving equipment were being retrieved from the cave. A
post-mortem will now be carried out on both by the South African
Dreyer was originally lost in 1990, and his
remains lay undiscovered until October 2004, when Shaw came
across the body while diving Boesmansgat to break the world
depth record for a rebreather dive. He agreed to attempt the
recovery after talking to Dreyer's parents.
Boesmansgat, also known in English as "Bushman's Hole",
is believed to be the third-deepest submerged freshwater cave
(or sinkhole) in the world, approximately 270 metres deep. It
is located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
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