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How stupid is this?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Feb 9, 2004
I really don't have any sympathy for divers who want to see how deep they can dive before they kill themselves.
A diver from Australia, dived what was reported as the third deepest cave in the World, located in South Africa. Contact was lost when he reached 270 metres.

What seems to me, more stupid, is that the reason why he was doing it was to recover the body of the last #&*@ that tried it.

Although he requested that if he didn't return, he would like his body left there, the South African Police said they want to recover his body.

I don't know how they intend to do this but I guess they may be looking for volunteers. Anyone want to put their hands up for a quick dip.
Should have used one in the begining! Life's to precious! 270 metres?? hell thats deep and in a cave?
When I was in The blue hole in Dahab during the freediving competition a month ago I saw the many tombstones of the scuba divers that died at the Blue hole on the side of the cliff facing the blue hole, on one of the tombstones was this saying in large letters:


I do not believe that this is the appropriate thing to write on somebody's tombstone since he died because he didn't listen to his fears which in this case were common sense!

I agree with you Poida!

One must be careful in giving meaning to other people's actions.

For example, Robert Falcon Scott, the British explorer who reached the South Pole in 1912, died (along with all of his men), on the return journey from the pole. He knew he was going to die (not enough food or resources to get home), and yet he wrote in his expedition diary that he still didn't regret the journey, even though he knew that he would perish because of it. He said the journey proved that British could endure hardships with courage and determination.

In reflection of his comments, upon his tombstone his followers & friends wrote a quote from Tennison Ulysses:
"To strive, to seek, to find, and NOT TO YIELD."

So, when 'branding' another person's actions, you should know something about what they themselves found meaningful.
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Thank you Efattah for your comment although I do not understand your reasoning.

From my understanding of your opinion it is alright for anybody to do anything as long as they find it in themselves "meaningful." I guess people who practice graffitti find it meaningful, either for their expression of artistic value or risks taken in pursuing their activity. In reality however they are just on an ego trip to be better than their peers, leaving the taxpayers a million dollar debt in a clean up bill.

Criminals quite often boast about their activities to their peers whether it be rape, mugging or vandalism and I'm sure they find their way of life meaningful although it makes the rest of the community puke.

I question your suggested similarity between an act of stupidity and the ventures of a pioneer, Robert Scott (Sir) I think.
A pioneer goes into the unknown mostly not knowning the risks and a lot of times mankind benifits from their achievements.
Jacque Cousteau was a pioneer, he and is team tokk risks and in fact one of his team died by trying to determine how deep one could dive with scuba. His death should not have been in vain, it was an indication that there is a limit and scuba diving should be practiced within safe limits in his honour.

The difference between a pioneer and an idiot.
Marie Curie discovered Radium, she didn't understand it's dangers and quite often carried a sample with her. It eventually killed her. She was a pioneer.

An idiot is a person who knows it's dangerous and carries a piece of Radium around in his pocket to see how long it takes to kill him.

Anyway Efattah it must be getting cold in Canada. Zip down hear to Perth it's fairly warm. Nothin' like a hot debate over a cold beer.
Hello Poida!
Well, first of all, I am sorry that another human life is lost, but calling someon idiot, just because s/he decides to dive to 270m is in my oppinion not appropriate. Every free/diver should know about the risks or dangers associated with the sport, but it does not make us all idiots, because we are aware of the risks and still pursue the sport, or does it? :duh
There are different levels of experience among divers, and different personal levels of risk acceptance, and also different motivs for doing things. I would not blame you, if you were to call ME an idiot if I decided to dive to 270m, since I do not posses the proper knowledge, technique, equipment or expirience to conduct such a dive (nor do I have a motiv for that), but would you call Bennet, Bowden and the late Exlley idiots for pursuing such dives?
Or would you call all the freedivers who dive to un-human depths idiots, since they are aware of danger, and there is really no benefit for the human race when such dive are made?
Since I did not know the guy who perished and his background, I will just say, that it would be wiser to use ROW to get the body out, but I think that regardless of that people (and this diver) will still pursue ther dreams, and seek ther limits, and in this process lives will be lost.
I wish everybody lots of safe and enjoyable diving :wave
'Stupid' is doing something rashly and without due consideration - like getting drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car or diving air below 40 meters. What Dave Shaw was doing - gradually building up depth experience over many years to finally reach 270 meters is pretty pioneering.

Shaw, and his team, obviously undertook the dive with enormous forethought and planning. Shaw and the other deep divers were thorougly trained for the objective of the dive and had recently completed dives in the same range. If you look at Shaw's website http://www.deepcave.com/pages/3/ you will read some of the consideration and planning that went into these pioneering and experimental dives.

Most accounts suggest the reason for the accident was an equipment failure not human error.
Alison said:
Life's too precious!

I agree, Ali. But, it seems to me that if you make requests re: your remains, you aren't too serious about returning.

My tombstone would read "Don't let fear stand in the way of your dreams, unless your dream is to get yourself killed in hopes that your martyrdom will define your otherwise unfulfilled life resulting from your impatience and selfishness"
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unirdna said:
"Don't let fear stand in the way of your dreams, unless your dream is to get yourself killed in hopes that your martyrdom will define your otherwise unfulfilled life resulting from your impatience and selfishness"

Tres profundo, Ted.

Having been down that deep, and then only for a buncha bucks, let me interupt the theology for a moment and get real...

One, some guy went down and died. Now even if the guy was a fellow Marine, with the "We don't leave behind our dead" mantra, to have just gathered the gear, bravado and the stones to go after him was pretty ignorant. This is a penetration that screamed for a much greater support staff and planning than was exhibited, ie, stages set at depths with equipment and personnel, the least of which should have included enough gas to bail with a DPV on a slide ring on the down line. Better yet would have been to go down on a hose, the conditions allowing, as in can I get past the walls and ceilings with a hat on...

The utilization of an ROV is often plagued with electro/mechanical faults and then you gotta haul the thing back. Straight up from the working depth is one thing, across the ceilings of a cave is another, as in cut the umbilical and go home. I tend to think that the ROV route was deemed too expensive if it was considered at all. And if I'm gripping about sending in a remote camera, I'm sure as Hell not going to jump instead.

Not to speak ill of the dead and all, but now there are two sets of families experiencing loss and twice the number of guys swilling cervezas over the feigned bravado of their friends. Not a worthwhile payback from where I stand. Idiocy, probably. Stupid, definitely.
efattah said:
He said the journey proved that British could endure hardships with courage and determination.

How the hell does death prove endurance? My common since tells me they are counterproductive...endurance would be more along the lines of "live to fight another day."
Interestingly, if Shaw had succeeded at the dive and recovered the body, he would be considered a hero. Having died, people call him an idiot.

Likewise, a man with a wife and kids climbs everest, and succeeds. He is called a 'great man' or a 'hero.' Another man, with similar experience, also with a wife and kids, climbs everest as well. On the descent, a storm kills him. He is called an 'idiot', and people ask the question, 'was trying to climb the mountain worth leaving behind a widow and her kids?' But had he succeeded he would have been called a hero.

* * * *

To rigdvr, concerning Scott's expedition to the pole, it DID prove that he and his British team could withstand tremendous hardships. He and is team essentially walked to the south pole, man-hauling the sleds. Amundsen beat Scott to the pole and survived, but he used 97 sled dogs.
gxdoyle said:
Most accounts suggest the reason for the accident was an equipment failure not human error.

Just a question... In the newspaper articles, it says that Shaw blacked out and drowned. It doesn't give much detail.

Black out at 270m... caused by ox-tox? Wrong mix - causing even hypoxia? What are the possible causes?

Sven you're probably a good person to give a solid answer.
Hero definitions...

efattah said:
Interestingly, if Shaw had succeeded at the dive and recovered the body, he would be considered a hero...

...by those that don't know any better. The common man on the street has zero idea of the difficulties of an endevour such as a cave penetration, a stroll to the Pole, or a static in the bathtub. I contend that as experience and knowledge about a subject increase, you're more able and educated to make a decision to go or not go, and thus you become slightly less willing to be compassionate about a guy trying and indeed exhibit a rather macabre sense of spectator. Someone wants to go dive the Doria on a single 72 with air and a wetsuit, I'm going to think the same thing if he makes it back to the surface breathing or blown-up. So much for the warm and fuzzy side. :hmm

And Rig is less a fighter than a lover. Indeed his mantra at the 'Kraze is "live to breed another day!" (Montero's sores are healing nicely, but call him. )
Personally I wouldn’t have called Shaw a hero had he been successful in recovering the body. In the “News on DB Members affected by Asia Quake and Tsunami” thread I called Colin a hero for saving Alison life. For me, a hero is some one who saves a life, not recovers a body. Recovering a body is just a nice gesture to help a grieving family bring closure to their lost. If I had my say of mottos for the Marines it would be "we will leave no living marine behind."
Just my opinion,
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it could have been HPNS related or reduced efficiency of the scrubber when working hard at depth. i'm sure any number of things could have killed him down there.

my personal opinion is that when you have dependants (wife/kids etc) you should think really hard about the risks you're taking.

i find the idea of doing 270m in a cave incredible. i have a hard time trying to comprehend that depth! it's something i would love to experience, but i don't know whether i would be prepared to take the risks given the opportunity.
Hi all

I have been following this story very closely since it unfolded on Saturday, in fact I have just seen the footage from Dave Shaws helmet Cam. Poida, firstly, the so called idiot was a young diver who was doing a standard scuba dive with his father 11 years ago, he had problems and blacked out, and sank to the bottom. So he was not some %$#@ idiot, but a 19 year old who had a tragic accident.

Dave Shaw, on a dive to the bottom of the cave last year, came across the kids body, and tied off a line before returning to the surface. After meeting the kids father, Dave offered to plan a dive to fetch his son, not to be a hero, but because he love a deep technical dive with a purpose, and a goal.

On the dive, he reached the body, tied off a line, and placed the body in a body-bag, before running into difficulties. Speculation is that he was over exerting himself, or he may have had problems with his re-breather. He wrote a message on a slate saying "I did my bit" before he died. His partner on the dive got down to 250m to try to help, before running into problems himself, he returned to the surface suffering deco-sickness and close to blackout, and was taken to a hospital and chamber.

Yesterday, police divers retrieved the lines, and on the end of the lines were 2 bodies, Dave Shaw, and the young kid in the bodybag.
Dave Shaw had died fulfulling a promise, to bring the kid to the surface, sadly, it had cost him his life. He had tackled the job with a purpose, not stupidity, nor looking for fame...but because it challenged him, required planning, and thats why he loved what he did. Even the media were kept away on the day of the dive. Simply because Dave Shaw wanted no recognition. He was going for another dive with a plan, and at the same time, helping a family he barely new. I salute him for that.

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Latest news is, he was using an Oxy-rebreather, he found the skeletal remains of the person he was diving for and got tangled in his rope. He apparently over exerted himself trying to cut himself loose causing oxygen toxicity and he blacked out. His body and the skeleton apparently floated to the roof of the cave and his body has been recovered.
He had his video camera working during this and it recorded his the sound of his breathing getting heavier as he was trying to cut himself loose from the rope, then silence, providing evidence to his cause of death.
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