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Record-breaking deep cave diver presumed dead

By Cui Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-13 09:30

Renowned Chinese diver Han Ting, who holds the cave diving record in Asia, said that a dive can only be declared successful after the diver reaches the surface safely. His latest attempt was unsuccessful.

He lost contact with the support team during a training session at an underwater cave in Jiudun village, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, around 8 pm on Saturday, according to Flag Blue Diving Club.

The club founded by Han said in a statement around noon on Wednesday that the search and rescue mission has been very difficult as the cave is too deep. And no significant progress has been made.

According to Chinese media, a remotely operated underwater vehicle found a body stuck between cave walls in the water about 110 meters deep on Wednesday, and it was suspected to be Han's. The search and rescue team is drafting a plan to get the body out.

In May, Han dived 277 meters in the same cave dubbed China's underwater Mount Qomolangma, setting a new Asian record, and was only 9 meters from the world record of 286 meters.

The dive took him about 12 hours to complete as deeper dives require longer decompression times.

Underground rivers, curved travel routes and unstable rock walls all make deep cave dives extreme journeys that few dare to take on. He was planning to reach 300 meters deep in the cave and break the world cave-diving record on Thursday.

Starting out as a recreational diver, Han, 47, has been diving for 17 years. He is China's first all-around diving coach in scuba diving, free diving and technical diving, according to the China Exploration and Research Society.

Han has conducted missions for the country's shipwreck archaeology and searches for the remains of Red Army soldiers. He also voluntarily took part in many missions to look for missing divers.

Du Lei, a member of the society and Han's friend, said Han died while pursuing his dreams.

Tuesday marked Han's 47th birthday. His family laid a cake near the underwater cave with writings saying: "Happy birthday and be where you want to be".

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