15 January 2005

Divers' post-mortems complete

The post-mortems on divers Dave Shaw and Deon Dreyer, retrieved from the world's third-deepest freshwater cave, Boesmansgat in the Northern Cape, have been completed, said authorities in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Free State's chief pathologist Jan Botha said the post-mortems had been completed, but he could not comment on the results.

"The reports will be sent to the investigating officer next week," said the professor.

Police said earlier that there would be an inquest.

The bodies of Shaw and Dreyer were taken to the state mortuary in Bloemfontein for post-mortems after they were retrieved from Boesmansgat near Dani´┐Żlskuil on Wednesday.

Australian diver Shaw went missing during an extreme dive in Boesmansgat on Saturday, to recover the body of South African Deon Dreyer, who drowned in the cave while diving there in 1994.

Dreyer's body had been lying at a depth of 270m at the bottom of the cave.


Police and technical divers on Wednesday, while recovering equipment used during Saturday's dive, found the bodies drifting at a depth of between 20m and 25m.

"Police divers, helped by technical divers, started recovering the ropes and other equipment from the water when they saw Dave Shaw and Deon Dreyer's bodies at the cliff beneath the water," said national police dive co-ordinator superintendent Ernst Strydom.

The bodies were brought to the surface shortly after 17:00 on Wednesday.

Although the investigation into Shaw's fatal dive was not finished yet, it seemed the Australian diver ran out of time while trying to fit Dreyer's body into a body bag at 270m.

Initial studies of a video Shaw was carrying while diving also suggest that he "worked too hard" at that extreme depth.

When divers found the bodies on Wednesday, Shaw's torch was entangled in lines tied to Dreyer's body.

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