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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:54 PM   #1
K Mejean
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Default Cave death

The news is still very little. The diver that died is Agnes Milowka. She is a very well known cave diver that has done some amazing dives. She has her own web site and has a lot of videos posted on youtube.

She recently worked on the movie Sanctum as a stunt diver.

I never met her but I have had online conversations with her and she was a very nice lady. No one has a bad word to say about her.

She was a well trained and very experienced diver so this comes as a big shock to the entire cave diving community. She will be missed by a lot of people.

It has not been determined yet what caused the death. She was found alone in the cave about 600 meters in. As I get more info I will pass it along.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:13 AM   #2
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That is very sad news....
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Old March 1st, 2011, 06:53 AM   #3
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Very, very, sad.

RIP Agnes.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 07:36 AM   #4
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Default Interview

Just came across this on her website...

Interview with Wes Skiles

At one point, Wes asks Agnes "Are you willing to die doing this?"

How terribly haunting and sad to read it now, knowing we've lost both of them.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 05:17 AM   #5
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Default

Her body has been recovered. It will probably be a few more days until we get more info on exactly what happened but at least they have her out of the cave.




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Diver's body recovered from caves

Updated 18 minutes ago
Agnes Milowka

Members of the close-knit diving community retrieved Agnes Milowka's body this afternoon (flickr.com)

* Map: Mount Gambier 5290
* Related Story: Friends work to retrieve diver's body
* Related Story: No quick option to retrieve diver's body
* Related Story: Dead diver 'dreamt about caves'

The body of a world-renowned cave diver has been recovered from the underwater channels where she had been trapped since Sunday.

Agnes Milowka, 29, ran out of air after becoming separated from her diving buddy in the eight kilometre-long channel system of Tank Cave near Mount Gambier in South Australia's south-east.

Tank Cave is one of Australia's longest underwater caves.

Divers had been working to shift rocks to clear a path so they could recover Ms Milowka's body.

Superintendent Trevor Twilley says the diver's friends, who were involved in the retrieval process, had an extremely difficult task.

"It has been an extremely long ordeal, particularly for the divers themselves," he said.

"I can't help but feel sorry for them - the emotions they're going through. And whilst it is a relief for them, I think the reality of what's happened will probably hit them later on tonight and tomorrow as well."

Ms Milowka believed cave diving was the essence of exploration and knew the risks, but said on her website the rewards were worth it.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 10:32 AM   #6
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Very sad to hear about. I wish our paths had crossed.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 05:07 AM   #7
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Default

This statement was posted on CDF this morning by one of the recovery divers.

The only thing I want to add to this is for all cavers out there please remember the 5 basic rules and if it looks like you might be too close to thirds then just wait. The cave will be there when you come back and the cave diving community does not need any more deaths.



Hi All,

I was one of the divers who assisted with the recovery of Agnes from Tank Cave. We have discussed what we should say and have written the following. This is a very sad time for us all as you can imagine.

Ken

On Sunday 27th Feb, Ag was exploring in Tank Cave, using sidemounted steel tanks. She tied off to the existing cave line and reeled out.

Ag unclipped one tank to pass through a series of restrictions. At some point she made the decision to leave this tank to make further progress. Ag continued to explore before turning to come home. Coming back in silty conditions, she was unable to navigate a restriction. She ran out of air before she could return to her tank.

Her body was brought to the surface by cave divers on Wednesday 2nd March, co-ordinated and supported by the South Australian Police and with help from the State Emergency Service (who are volunteers). A full investigation is being undertaken by the Coroner.

Ag was an inspirational diver who accomplished many impressive feats in a short space of time. She will be sorely missed by her Mum, Dad and many friends and buddies.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #8
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Unhappy Tragic Decision

Diving is an inherently risky sport, so whenever we get in the water, we are risking our lives. As many people on this forum know, I lean toward the more conservative side when it comes to diving, I am just an extremely cautious person.

When I read stories about people dying while diving, it does shake me up a bit. Before I got certified, I had a lot of anxiety about being under water on SCUBA. Of course, my primary concern was running out of air. During my progression of NAUI courses, I have come to accept that the first point of responsibility for my safety is my own.

I am not a cave diver and probably will not take that route in the course of my diving experience, so I do not know proper procedure when it comes to this kind of environment. When I read that someone left a source of air behind to enter a more restrictive area, my first feeling is terror and my next is that this decision was foolhardy and it cost her life.

Please do not interpret this post as me being unsympathetic. If she had been my family member, my first reaction would be grief. However, eventually I would be asking myself "What the hell was she thinking?" I just hope everyone can learn from this and when confronted with this kind of decision, err on the side of caution and don't end up a statistic.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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I certainly take no offense at you considering her decision foolhardy, as I can easily understand that point of view, but I don't agree with it. Pioneers and world class explorers push the envelope all the time. That is how progress and new discoveries are made. Nobody would be diving anywhere today if an envelope wasn't pushed at one point, nobody would be diving in caves or wrecks if another envelope wasn't pushed, etc... What divers like her do may be considered risky today but in 25 years it could be part of the curriculum in an NACD course. That's how the road to technical diving has been paved so far.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #10
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I think no-mount divers are insane. Granted, she wasn't really no-mounting. But she did leave half her gas behind and that's a line I just won't cross. Maybe one day my balls will be as negative as my doubles, but I doubt it. Ditching a stage, ok. Taking my primary gas off my back? Never going to happen.

She obviously felt comfortable with what she was doing and it clearly wasn't her first time. That kind of diving just isn't for me. Very sad indeed.
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