Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Body of missing diver Agnes Milowka recovered from Tank Cave

Agnes Milowka was drawn to the eerie beauty of her underwater world.
Ms Milowka's body was brought to the surface of Tank Cave, near Millicent, South Australia, by members of the Cave Divers of Association just before 4pm.

Limestone Coast Superintendent Trevor Twilley said divers had managed to reach Ms Milowka's body in just 32 minutes this morning.

"(It) is much shorter than it has been in the past and reflected the efforts of divers who have, in the last two days, cleared the channels," Supt Twilley said.

"Unfortunately, they had a little bit of difficulty in the extremity of the chamber where Agnes is located."

Supt Twilley said the Cave Divers' Association divers had to wait about three hours between dives for the silt to settle.

"In this morning's dive they probably had about 18 inches of visibility at the best, at other times zero visibility," he said.



"A lot of the work is being guided by the guide ropes throughout the system and also just by feeling."

Dr Richard Harris, a close friend of the 29-year-old Ms Milowka, is part of the retrieval team which has been trying to clear the way for police divers to pull her body from Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier.

Dr Harris, who has seen Ms Milowka's body submerged in 20m of water about 550m from the cave entrance, says she did not become trapped before her death.

"It looks like she has remained very calm right to the very last breath while she has been working to extricate herself," he says.

"When you are in a very narrow part of a cave, visibility turns to zero very quickly."

He says Ms Milowka was an "aggressive diver" who was on the cutting edge of her sport.

"She can't turn very quickly, she can't see anything and she has been unable to work out the way to get out of the cave and she has run out of air."

An expert cave diver who had mastered Tank Cave many times, Ms Milowka became separated from her diving "buddy" before being reported missing about 1.45pm on Sunday.

Her friends and fellow expert cave divers have been working non-stop since then to recover her body.

Divers recorded a video of the path to Ms Milowka yesterday, which convinced experts that it was possible to retrieve the body.

Rescuers have discounted thoughts of drilling through about 15m of earth above Ms Milowka to recover the body.

The Polish-born 29-year-old had recently worked as a stunt diver for James Cameron's new blockbuster Sanctum 3D, which is now showing across Australia.

The movie centres on a group of cave divers who are pushed to the limit when an expedition goes tragically wrong.

It was dedicated to Wes Skiles, a diving legend and close friend of Ms Milowka, who died accidentally last year.

It was just one of the many ironies surrounding Ms Milowka's death.

Her passion to explore some of the last undiscovered places on Earth took her to exotic underwater caves, from Tasmania to the Bahamas.

It also led her to her death at Tank Cave, just kilometres away from where her love affair with diving began.

The Flinders University graduate was drawn into the world of cave diving after seeing a hole at the bottom of Piccaninnie Ponds, near Mt Gambier, in 2004.

The Tank Cave network, where she died on Sunday evening, is just kilometres away from Piccaninnie Ponds.

Source: Daily Telegraph







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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Body of missing diver Agnes Milowka recovered from Tank Cave

Agnes Milowka was drawn to the eerie beauty of her underwater world.
Ms Milowka's body was brought to the surface of Tank Cave, near Millicent, South Australia, by members of the Cave Divers of Association just before 4pm.

Limestone Coast Superintendent Trevor Twilley said divers had managed to reach Ms Milowka's body in just 32 minutes this morning.

"(It) is much shorter than it has been in the past and reflected the efforts of divers who have, in the last two days, cleared the channels," Supt Twilley said.

"Unfortunately, they had a little bit of difficulty in the extremity of the chamber where Agnes is located."

Supt Twilley said the Cave Divers' Association divers had to wait about three hours between dives for the silt to settle.

"In this morning's dive they probably had about 18 inches of visibility at the best, at other times zero visibility," he said.



"A lot of the work is being guided by the guide ropes throughout the system and also just by feeling."

Dr Richard Harris, a close friend of the 29-year-old Ms Milowka, is part of the retrieval team which has been trying to clear the way for police divers to pull her body from Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier.

Dr Harris, who has seen Ms Milowka's body submerged in 20m of water about 550m from the cave entrance, says she did not become trapped before her death.

"It looks like she has remained very calm right to the very last breath while she has been working to extricate herself," he says.

"When you are in a very narrow part of a cave, visibility turns to zero very quickly."

He says Ms Milowka was an "aggressive diver" who was on the cutting edge of her sport.

"She can't turn very quickly, she can't see anything and she has been unable to work out the way to get out of the cave and she has run out of air."

An expert cave diver who had mastered Tank Cave many times, Ms Milowka became separated from her diving "buddy" before being reported missing about 1.45pm on Sunday.

Her friends and fellow expert cave divers have been working non-stop since then to recover her body.

Divers recorded a video of the path to Ms Milowka yesterday, which convinced experts that it was possible to retrieve the body.

Rescuers have discounted thoughts of drilling through about 15m of earth above Ms Milowka to recover the body.

The Polish-born 29-year-old had recently worked as a stunt diver for James Cameron's new blockbuster Sanctum 3D, which is now showing across Australia.

The movie centres on a group of cave divers who are pushed to the limit when an expedition goes tragically wrong.

It was dedicated to Wes Skiles, a diving legend and close friend of Ms Milowka, who died accidentally last year.

It was just one of the many ironies surrounding Ms Milowka's death.

Her passion to explore some of the last undiscovered places on Earth took her to exotic underwater caves, from Tasmania to the Bahamas.

It also led her to her death at Tank Cave, just kilometres away from where her love affair with diving began.

The Flinders University graduate was drawn into the world of cave diving after seeing a hole at the bottom of Piccaninnie Ponds, near Mt Gambier, in 2004.

The Tank Cave network, where she died on Sunday evening, is just kilometres away from Piccaninnie Ponds.

Source: Daily Telegraph