Bod­ies of 2 ex­pert divers are found

Pair were part of team tak­ing pic­tures of a sub­merged part of the Great Wall

China Daily - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

The bod­ies of two divers who had been ex­plor­ing the un­der­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment in a reser­voir in Tang­shan, He­bei prov­ince, were re­cov­ered on Mon­day, 12 days af­ter go­ing miss­ing.

The divers worked for Global Un­der­wa­ter Ex­plor­ers, a non­profit NGO that does re­search and trains high-qual­ity divers.

On Sept 4, a team of four divers ar­rived at Pan­ji­akou Reser­voir, which cov­ers the site of a vil­lage that was ad­ja­cent to the Great Wall 500 years ago. The team’s job was to sur­vey and map the area, div­ing about 50 me­ters be­low the sur­face to take pho­to­graphs and videos of the sub­merged Great Wall.

On Sept 7, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said, two mem­bers of the map­ping team — Xu Haiyan, 39, and Sun Hao, 34 — failed to re­turn af­ter a dive on the af­ter­noon of Sept 6, and lo­cal po­lice had be­gun search­ing for them.

It an­nounced on Sun­day af­ter­noon that the body of one diver had been de­tected 62 me­ters be­low the sur­face. A sec­ond body was found on Mon­day morn­ing.

The two bod­ies were about 70 me­ters apart, the search team said. Re­cov­ery work is ex­pected to start on Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to a diver from the team who wouldn’t give his name, the team had made com­pre­hen­sive prepa­ra­tions in ad­vance. Qiao Qi, diver at Global Un­der­wa­ter Ex­plor­ers

“Xu asked for ad­vice from many GUE divers. She also bor­rowed the best div­ing equip­ment from her friend, which al­lowed her to stay un­der­wa­ter for six to eight hours,” the diver said.

“The task this time was not es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult be­cause it’s an open-water area and the set op­er­a­tion time was set at two and a half hours, which is not long for them.”

The miss­ing divers had been work­ing in Shang­hai. Both had Level 2 cer­tifi­cates as tech­ni­cal divers, which means they were able to per­form dives as deep as 75 me­ters. Only seven peo­ple in China have that level of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Xu was an out­stand­ing fe­male ge­neti­cist who earned her doc­tor­ate at Columbia Univer­sity. She pub­lished many ar­ti­cles on WeChat shar­ing her div­ing knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Xu was one of the few pro­fes­sional fe­male divers in China and rep­re­sents a kind of spir­i­tual power,” said Zhang Jun, an­other GUE diver.

Xu pub­lished on her WeChat ac­count days be­fore the reser­voir dive that she had a cold and was tak­ing medicine.

The other diver, Sun Hao, a for­mer Armed Po­lice of­fi­cer, was work­ing in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try. He is also well-known in div­ing cir­cles.

The deaths of the two shocked fel­low divers in China be­cause the pair are known ex­perts. Many divers vol­un­teered for the search ef­fort.

The causes of death are still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The reser­voir was once a fish­breed­ing site for lo­cal farm­ers, but that ac­tiv­ity was banned be­cause of pol­lu­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the res­cue team, there are many aban­doned fish­ing nets and cages in the water.

This is not the first div­ing pro­ject led by the NGO in China. In April, a team ex­plored Green Hole Lake in Guang­dong prov­ince and mapped part of it. Divers went down more than 60 me­ters four times.

Qiao Qi, an­other diver with the NGO, said: “There are no de­tailed hy­dro­graphic maps for most waters in China. For GUE tech­ni­cal divers, div­ing is not only fun but also for ex­plo­ration and dis­cov­ery of the un­known world.”

For GUE tech­ni­cal divers, div­ing is not only fun but also for ex­plo­ration and dis­cov­ery of the un­known world.”

Zhang Yi contributed to this story.

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