Experts to help recover body in cave

 

A BRITISH team of cave rescue experts is due to attempt a recovery of the body of Polish cave diver Artur Kozlowski (33) from a cavern in south Galway this afternoon.

Three specialist divers who are described as European experts were en route to Gort, Co Galway, yesterday evening, following a request for assistance from gardaí.

The Irish Cave Rescue Organisation, which confirmed the location of Mr Kozlowski’s body on Tuesday after he had failed to resurface from a dive on Monday, met gardaí yesterday to finalise the arrangements.

The 22-hour search for Mr Kozlowski was initiated on Monday night.

It was stood down shortly before 7pm the following day when a colleague located his body some 800m into the Pollorona borehole at Kiltartan at a depth of about 52m.

Mr Kozlowski, a quantity surveyor and cave diving trainer, had been continuing his exploration of a new shaft in the karst limestone boreholes.

He was one of Ireland’s leading practitioners of the sport, and held several records – including one for the longest and deepest cave traverse in Ireland and Britain.

The cave rescue organisation has said he was fully equipped with all necessary gear, and had sufficient compressed air and mixed gases with him.

Mr Kozlowski had informed colleagues of his plans as part of correct cave diving protocol, the organisation said.

Recent heavy rainfall would not have been a factor, as he was diving in flooded caves, it pointed out.

The Pole had been using mixed oxygen when he set off at 3pm on Monday, and had sufficient gas for six hours.

He had deposited “stage” oxygen bottles en route, in case of an emergency, and had made arrangements with two colleagues to raise the alarm if he had not returned by 9pm.

Residents of the south Galway area have expressed their shock at his death, as he had become well known in the community, where he helped farmers with advice after the extensive flooding of 2009-2010.

“He got on very well with the farmers, and you’d see his tent up in a field where you’d see a hole of water, and he was usually in it,” Kiltartan resident David Murray said.

The recovery is expected to take some hours today.

A postmortem examination will be carried out, and Mr Kozlowski’s gear will be examined as part of the Garda investigation for an inquest.