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Why He Didn’t Survive The World’s Deepest Cave

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In August of 2021, a group of Russian explorers was gearing up for a descent into the deepest cave known on Earth, Veryovkina Cave, nestled in the Caucasus Mountains. But then they noticed something mysterious. At the mouth of the cave, a single set of ropes dangled deep into the darkness below.

But there was no sign of any other people in sight. The group continued their descent for a few hours, paying little attention to the extra ropes. However, after lowering themselves more than 1,000 m (1,093 yds) below the surface, they came upon something chilling at the end of those ropes

– a lifeless body suspended over the gaping abyss of the cave. The explorers searched the surroundings in search of the dead man’s team, but there was no one to be found. Who was this mysterious man? Was he alone? How had he met this horrific end, and how long had he been

Hanging in the cave’s depths? Before we dive into the grim details of this story, let’s take a moment to explore this eerie place. Veryovkina is about 15 km (9 mi) off the coast of the Black Sea, in the Republic of Abkhazia. Due to the unique limestone conditions in the region,

It’s no surprise that the four deepest caves in the world are found here. Most caves are formed in limestone when acidic rain and groundwater dissolve the insides of the rock. First discovered in 1968, Veryovkina was thought to have a depth of only 115 m (377 ft). However, half a century of exploration

Led a team of Russian explorers to discover the cave’s record depth of 2.2 km (1.3 miles). The descent takes approximately four days for experienced speleologists, during which they navigate through more than 6 km (3.7 miles) of towering chambers, narrow tunnels, and stunning underwater passages that can become nightmares

In the blink of an eye. The best example of this cave’s potential fury came just a few years ago when the same explorers who discovered the cave’s record depth were nearly swallowed alive during a dive. March of 2018, was the first time the team led by Russian speleologist Pavel Demidov

Was able to confirm the cave’s depth of 2,212 m (7,257 ft). A few months later, the team decided to return to continue their exploration of the mesmerizing underworld. This time, they were joined by British photographer Robbie Shone from National Geographic and his assistant Jeff Wayde, to document the expedition.

Over the course of four grueling days, they descended through narrow shafts, squeezing themselves through impossibly tight chimneys and crevices, and hauled their equipment across muddy underground lakes. Their ultimate destination was the deepest point of the cave. After spending three days in a camp at the cave’s lowest depth, they heard a deafening rumble

That shook the entire chamber. Being experienced cavers, Demidov’s team recognized it instantly: it was a flood pulse. These deadly phenomena occur when rainwater infiltrates the cave’s cracks, forming beautiful underground lakes, but when the pressure breaches the rock walls, it triggers sudden and deadly floods within the chambers. They needed to escape, and

They needed to do it immediately. Robbie, the photographer, wasted no time, rushing to the vertical ropes and leaving behind tens of thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment. As he started climbing up, an avalanche of water surged from the wall, drenching him with such force that he thought his head

Might be swallowed by his shoulders. But he kept going, inch by inch, climbing the rope with frantic determination. After several agonizing minutes of struggle, he heard the voice of his assistant, Jeff Wayde. They were safe, having narrowly escaped what seemed like certain death. However, the Russian team was missing, and

They began fearing the worst. Thankfully, the entire team emerged a few minutes later. They had stopped to grab some of their gear and samples from the camp, making their escape far more challenging. It would have been virtually impossible without their expertise. As they made their way out, the route Shone had used

Was submerged underwater. They had to swim against the current, navigate a growing waterfall, and squeeze through narrow shafts. They survived despite razor-thin odds, owing entirely to their extensive knowledge of this particular cave. Now, remember the mysterious man from the beginning of our story? Could he have met a similar fate?

Trapped by a sudden flood while desperately trying to escape? Well, it is possible, but experts have a different explanation. Let’s begin by uncovering his identity. Upon discovering his body, the explorers found his cell phone. After analyzing the photographs stored on the device, authorities identified the man as Sergei Kozeev, a 37-year-old Russian sports

Enthusiast, and explorer who had gone missing in the region nine months earlier. According to other Russian cave experts familiar with Veryovkina, Kozeev may have fallen and met his untimely death while hanging from the rope, since no one was around to help him. However, Evgeny Snetkov, of the Union of Cavers,

Thinks that the cold might have been the ultimate cause of death. The cave maintains a constant temperature below 4° C (39° F), which, combined with its damp conditions, can cause hypothermia within just 30 minutes if you’re not wearing proper equipment. Sadly, Kozeev made two critical mistakes – descending into one of the planet’s

Most challenging caves alone and not carrying the necessary equipment to save him from any problems waiting for him inside. If you ever plan on venturing deep into a cave, get advice from experts about the kind of equipment you’ll need and team up with experienced cavers who are well-acquainted with the specific cave

You want to explore. Diving headlong into an adventure like this without proper preparation could cost you your life. Packing lots of food is also a good idea because you never know how long you could be trapped inside a cave. In 2018, a junior soccer team went on an expedition

In a cave in Thailand when they were trapped by a flash flood, blocking their exit for two harrowing weeks. Want to know how they escaped? Keep watching here on How to Survive.

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