08 January 2005

Body raised after 10 years

Boesmansgat - After ten years of waiting, Marie Dreyer could get to see her son on Saturday morning.

If everything goes according to plan, a team of eight divers will bring Deon Dreyer's body to the surface of Boesmansgat cave in the Northern Cape between 07:00 and 08:00 on Saturday.

Deon blacked out and drowned in the cave, the third deepest freshwater cave in the world, while diving there in 1994. He was 20-years-old.

When his body is brought to the surface, sealed in a green body bag, Marie her husband Theo and their church minister, will be granted a few minutes to conduct a small service at the water's edge.

The body will then be hoisted 50m up a rock face. It will be taken to a mortuary in Postmasburg.

Only then will Marie Dreyer be able to look at her son's remains. She has already prepared herself for the fact that there will only be a skeleton left.

The body will then go to Bloemfontein where an autopsy will be conducted. The Dreyers will then cremate their child.

"The thing with Deon sets you back. We've always had hope because there was never a body," Marie Dreyer said on Friday from the farm Mount Carmel 50km south of Kuruman where Boesmansgat is located.

During the past ten years Marie Dreyer coped with the uncertainty surrounding Deon's disappearance "working herself into a stupor". She and her husband run a two-way radio business in Vereeniging 55km south of Johannesburg.

"I didn't think I'd still feel this way after 10 years'" she said crying.

"I don't know what to expect, I was scared yesterday," she said on the possibility of seeing the body of her son.

Deon drowned in the cave on December 17 1994. Marie and Theo were on holiday in Margate at the time. They had just returned from a Patricia Lewis concert when they were handed an official-looking slip of paper from the police, requesting them to call a family friend.

At first they thought Deon had been involved in a car accident. When Marie was informed that Australian diver Dave Shaw had stumbled across Deon's body on October 28th last year, the shock was so heavy that Marie came down with a bout of chicken pox.

The small, bright-eyed woman is full of gratitude for the men who have devoted so much of their time to recovering the body of her son and to those who have lent their support to Saturday's recovery attempt.

The Dreyers have been making regular pilgrimages to the Mount Carmel farm over the past ten years. Marie Dreyer said they would continue their annual visits to the farm, where her husband Theo goes hunting with his friends.


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