Body Found In Search For Chinese Cave-Diver

Chinese diver Han Ting - Photo by Diver Net at Diver Net

Body Found In Search For Chinese Cave-Diver

Six days after going missing in the vast Tianchuang flooded caverns in the Guangxi Zhuang area in the south of the nation, one of China’s most well-known scuba divers has been officially declared dead.

Han Ting had been preparing for a run at the system’s deepest dive ever. Although it hasn’t been formally verified, a search and rescue crew has now reported locating a corpse.

The cave diver was last seen entering the system late on October 7 for a build-up dive, but by the following morning he had not arrived after losing communication with his support crew. Members of the Lanqi (Blue Flag) Diving Club, which Han established, notified the emergency services and started a search and rescue operation.

The operation was highly challenging due to the system’s complexity, according to a statement released by the club at midday on October 11; nonetheless, no appreciable progress had been achieved. But on that day, a ROV discovered a corpse that had not yet been recognized wedged between cave walls at a depth of 110 meters. The crew was reportedly working on an extraction strategy.

Cave depth records

Yesterday (12 October), Han had intended to dive to a depth of 300 meters while streaming his dive live. The Tianchuang system, also referred to as China’s “underwater Everest,” comprises four flooded caves that have continued to be expanded through diving exploration and is situated close to Jiudun village in the upper reaches of the Chengjiang River Basin.

Despite the system’s generally weak currents, portions of the carbonate rock walls are said to be unstable.

With a 277-meter descent completed over 12 hours in April, Han broke his own previous 234-meter record for the deepest Asian cave dive at Tianchuang. Additionally, he had carried out several cave rescue operations, including one earlier this year in the same system for two trainees.

Han, a PSAI (Professional Scuba Association International) instructor-trainer who began scuba diving at the age of 30, was the country’s first “triple coach” in recreational, freediving, and technical diving.

In addition, he had participated in archaeological surveys, traveled to Mexico and the United States to explore cave systems, and since 2015, he had been in charge of the Jiudun Blue Flag International Dive Center.

Han’s passing happened just a few days after that of American cave diver Brett Hemphill.

On October 10, the day of Han’s 47th birthday, his family placed a cake with the message, “Happy birthday, and be where you want to be,” close to the cave he had entered.

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