The team secured Mr Kozlowski’s body yesterday some 850 metres along the Pollonora cave system at a depth of 52 metres below Kiltartan.
In the first of two dives, the team towed his body 50 metres back along the 850-metre cave route that he had traversed last Monday afternoon.
The team was flown in to south Galway in response to an inter-governmental request this week.
It includes John Volanthen and Rick Stanton – the latter a Coventry fire fighter who has been one of Europe’s leading practitioners of the sport for the past 20 years.
Mr Stanton was flown by the British government to Mexico in 2004 when six British soldiers were trapped by floodwater in a cavern. He and colleagues had recently met Mr Kozlowski during a caving expedition to the Cantabrian mountains in Spain.
Supt Pat Murray of Gort gardaí, who was briefed by the divers at the scene, said it would be this evening at the earliest before recovery could be deemed successful.
“The recovery is very slow and delicate, due to the nature of the terrain,” Supt Murray said.
It was expected that a second dive last evening would take the Polish man’s body back another 50 metres. Poor visibility and the risk of siltation pose severe challenges in the fully flooded limestone cave system, he explained.
The dive team had initially set supplementary oxygen bottles at stages along the route.
While the location can be reached within an hour, the divers have to make a timed and gradual exit to allow for decompression.
Tributes have been paid to Mr Kozlowski by fellow practitioners and by the south Galway community, where he had undertaken research on their behalf. The area is prone to repeated flooding, due to the nature of the landscape.
Gort priest Fr Tommy Marrinan led prayers at the Nolan family farm, where Pollonora is located, on Wednesday, and the diving community is due to hold a memorial service at the location tomorrow afternoon.
The Polish quantity surveyor, who moved to Ireland in 2006, set a number of records in cave diving.
If his body is recovered, it will be taken for a postmortem examination. His equipment will also be examined as part of the Garda investigation for the inquest into his death. His body was located by his friend and diving colleague Jim Warny after a 22-hour rescue effort early this week.
Source: The Irish Times