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Record-Setting US Cave Diver Dies During Underwater Expedition in Texas

A cave diver known for his record-breaking dives and contributions to scientific research has died while exploring one of the deepest underwater caves in the United States. According to The Independent, Brett Hemphill was the president of a non-profit organisation called Karst Underwater Research (KUR). He was 56 years old and had an illustrious career as a cave explorer. He spent over 25 years smashing diving records and collecting scientific data. 

Mr Hemphill’s body was recovered on Sunday, days after the 56-year-old had gone missing during an expedition with his colleague Andy Pitkin. He was last seen on video tying off a guideline at approximately 570 feet before the team became separated. Mr Hemphill never resurfaced from the cave, the KUR said in a statement, as per The Independent

Two divers then began exploring the Phantom Springs Cave in West Texas on October 4. The KUR said that it suspected that Mr Hemphill was stuck over a mile inside an underwater cave, and so multiple recovery divers travelled “thousands of miles” to assist in the search. 

“All cave recovery divers are self-supported – there are no organizations that fund those efforts. Cave diver recoveries are logistically difficult and this one is especially so,” the statement said.

Divers then finally recovered Mr Hemphill’s body from the cave on Sunday, four days after he divided underwater. His colleague Any Pitikin issued a statement through the research centre to announce that his body had been found and recovered. “Please allow us some time to come to terms with his loss, as up until now we have been focused on the recovery,” the statement said.

The 56-year-old had a passion for discovery at a young age, having explored an undiscovered section of a cave during a youth dry cave excursion, according to his biography on the KUR website. From there, he went on to lead several exploration groups and broke a number of underwater diving records. 

According to People Magazine, Mr Hemphill broke the United States deep underwater cave record at Weeki Wachee Springs in the state of Florida in 2018. In 2014, his team also made the deepest connection between two underwater caves in the United States, the Weeki Wachee and Twin Dees caves.

Post a commentThe 56-year-old even explored and researched caves in cities across the globe, including the Bahamas, Cay Sal Banks, Dominican Republic and the Yucatan Peninsula, according to his profile on the research centre’s website.

Source : NDTV