Agnes Milowka +26.02.2011

Schreckliche Neuigkeiten aus Australien, Agnes Milowka ist letzten Samstag von einem Tauchgang in Tank Cave nicht mehr zurück gekommen.

Ihr Körper wurde gestern ca. 600m entfernt vom Eingang lokalisiert und ihre Freunde werden versuchen sie heute am Montag in Zusammenarbeit mit der örtlichen Polizei zu bergen.

Alles Gute Ag, ich hoffe Du kannst jetzt mit Deinem Freund Wes die Höhlen im Jenseits betauchen.

Terrible news from Australia. Agnes Milowka disappeared in Tank Cave last Saturday.

Her body was located 600m from the entrance yesterday and her fellow cave divers will try to get her out today.

Goodspeed Ag, I really hope you´re diving the caves in heaven together with your bro Wes

Divers search for body in underwater cave

Updated Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:27pm AEDT

Underwater cave: the diver went missing in Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier.

Underwater cave: the diver went missing in Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier. (7pm TV News SA)

A 29-year-old female diver is presumed dead after she went missing in Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier in South Australia’s south-east.

Fellow divers reported the Victorian woman missing earlier this afternoon.

Superintendent Trevor Twilley from the Limestone Coast Police says trained divers have joined the search for the missing diver.

„Apparently you have to have special qualifications and a ticket to be able to dive in that cave because of the complexities and nature of the cave itself,“ he said.

„Our water operations divers don’t have those qualifications so we’re working very closely with the Cave Diving Association of Australia to see what kind of assistance they can provide us.“

Rob Dycer owns the 270-acre property and leases the underwater cave to the Cave Divers Association.

„They go in there every second week roughly, so roughly about 26 times a year,“ he said.

„These people are the uttermost professionals. They are very, very good at their job.“

Tags: disasters-and-accidents, emergency-incidents, australia, sa, mount-gambier-5290

First posted Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:52pm AEDT

Cave diver Agnes Milowka dies in South-East

  • Ken McGregor Doug Robertson
  • From: AAP
  • February 28, 2011 2:51PM
agnes milowka

It could be days before the body of Agnes Milowka, pictured in photos from her website, is recovered from an underwater cave near Mt Gambier. Source: Supplied

Agnes Milowka

Cave diver Agnes Milowka explores underwater terrain in the Bahamas. Pic: Wesley C. Skiles Source: AdelaideNow

Agnes Milowka

Agnes Milowka at the site of a cave dive. Pic: Agnes Milowka Source: AdelaideNow

cave

Divers and emergency services workers gather at Tank Cave. Picture: Lechelle Earl Source: The Advertiser

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Free Spirit

Internationally-renowned cave diver Agnes Milowka made this video before she drowned yesterday near Mt Gambier.

Adelaide Now28 February 2011

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A MELBOURNE cave diver who died yesterday was a passionate expert who „couldn’t wait to get underground“.

Polish born Agnes Milowka, 29, was a „world renowned“ diver who had explored caves from Tasmania to the Bahamas.

In Sanctum, which is now showing at cinemas across Australia, Ms Milowka was a stunt diver for the two female characters in the movie.

In a horrific twist of irony, the movie centres around a group of cave divers who are pushed to the limit when an expedition goes tragically wrong.

Ms Milowka graduated from Flinders University with a diploma in Maritime Archaeology in 2007, but has since spent time diving in Florida and was based in Melbourne.

During her short but distinguished career she worked for both National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.

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Ms Milowka’s body was found in Tank Cave, a seven-kilometre cave near Mt Gambier in South Australia’s southeast.

She was one of a group of Victorian divers visiting for the weekend.

SA Police Water Operation Divers are assisting the retrieval operation but the police divers did not have sufficient cave diving experience to recover the body, Superintendent Trevor Twilley said.

„It’s an extremely dangerous job and that’s why we have to tread with caution and make sure we don’t put the cave divers (rescuers) at risk,“ he said.

„It’s one thing to be able to get to (Ms Milowka) but the divers have to be able to get back safely with the body.

„The (divers) are all volunteers and they’re very upset because they’re a close-knit community. At the moment we’re working on getting counselling for them.“

Supt Twilley said it was too early to comment on what went wrong on the dive in a cave Ms Milowka had experienced many times previously.

„At this stage it’s too early to tell and we probably won’t know until we recover the diver and also the equipment then that will be analysed,“ he said.

„This dive (to video the route to the body) will take about three hours (but) the whole operation could take three days.“

On her website, Ms Milowka says she was well aware of the risks she faces everytime she submerged into the dark subterranean world of cave diving.

„It would be difficult to claim that caves are completely safe“ she says.

„Going into caves in general carries a certain amount of risk, and then if you add water and submerge the cave then obviously the risks increase.“

Tank Cave has been described by dive experts as „the best cave in the southern hemisphere“.

It is on private property on the Princes Highway, halfway between Millicent and Mt Gambier, near Tantanoola, and is renowned for being a „complicated underground cavern“, according to local diving information.

Ms Milowka’s body was about 500m from the cave entrance.

It is the second cave diving death in the South-East in the past year. Melbourne doctor Robert McAlister, 51, died while diving in a sinkhole near Mt Schank on March 13, 2010.

His co-diver was gradually surfacing to avoid the bends when he saw Dr McAlister, an experienced diver, at a great depth below him, authorities said.

The co-diver did not have enough air to return to Dr McAlister. He came to the surface and raised the alarm, but when water operations police found Dr McAlister he was dead and was tangled in the cave’s guide ropes.

Police divers have begun the grim task of recovering the body of a Melbourne woman who died in an accident in Australia’s longest underwater cave system yesterday.

Agnes Milowka had dived many times previously in Tank Cave near Mount Gambier in South Australia, exploring and mapping its unknown passages.

The 29-year-old was well-known in diving circles both in Australia and around the world, and had worked as a stunt diver on James Cameron’s 3D diving film Sanctum.

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Agnes Milowka, as she appeared in a video she posted on Youtube.Agnes Milowka, as she appeared in a video she posted on Youtube.

On Friday, she tweeted of her excitement about her impending diving trip to South Australia.

„Another w-end of cave diving in Mt Gambier … fabulous! Can’t wait to get underground,“ she wrote.

Police are still trying to piece together what went wrong in Tank Cave, a maze-like system with more than seven kilometres of underwater passages.

At some time during yesterday’s dive, with a group from Victoria, she was believed to have left her buddy, and never returned.

Her fellow divers reported her missing at 1.45pm, with one able to identify an area within the cave system where Ms Milowka was last seen.

Her body was found overnight about 600 metres inside the cave system.

Officers have now sealed off the sinkhole and are devising a plan to retrieve the body.

In an article published on her website in November, Ms Milowka wrote of her experiences in Tank Cave, describing it as „a spiderweb gone wild“ and „unlike any other in the Mt Gambier region, it is a real gem and it is a joy to dive“.

„The cave is stunning, it is relatively shallow (a max depth around 20m), there is no flow to fight and the water is crystal clear – you can’t go wrong really,“ she wrote.

She also wrote of a new passage in Tank Cave she had discovered with a colleague, and described numerous „tight bits“ where some divers may have had to take off their tanks to squeeze through.

„The walls and roof to begin with are quite soft and squishy, which means that large chunks of the roof rain down on you as you exhale and the visibility is quickly reduced to zero,“ she wrote.

„This is not only a hazard when coming back out through the small restrictions but it also means that this section of the cave is particularly fragile and needs to be handled with a bit of tender love and care.“

She also said she would continue to explore the unmapped tunnels and passages in Tank Cave, which was „top of my list when heading over to Mt Gambier“.

Ms Milowka is believed to have attended Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne, before completing a Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University.

Her website says she holds the current female penetration record for diving in Australia, and had dived extensively in Florida in the US.

Last year she was part of a National Geographic Team on a project to the Blue Holes of the Bahamas and worked as a stunt diver on the 3D cave diving feature film Sanctum.

Superintendent Trevor Twilley from the Limestone Coast police says police won’t know what went wrong in Tank Cave until they recover and test Ms Milowka’s equipment and diving umbilical cords.

He said cave divers are helping police plan the recovery today because of the complexities of the almost eight-kilometre stretch of twisting underwater passages.

Police divers will join members of the tight-knit Cave Divers Association of Australia today to assess how to retrieve Ms Milowka’s body.

The planned dive is expected to take up to three hours, before the situation will be reassessed.

Superintendent Twilley said the association’s members, despite mourning the loss of their colleague, would help guide police through the complex, narrow system.

„That is something we have certainly discussed at length this morning – the emotional side of asking them to do that and particularly when they do reach the deceased what impact that may have on their emotions and what risk that may add to their safety,“ he told ABC radio in Adelaide.

The cave is located on private property on the Princes Highway near Tantanoola, with access to the cave controlled by the Cave Divers Association of Australia.

The woman is the second Victorian to die in cave diving accidents in south-east South Australia in the past year.

In March last year, Melbourne doctor Robert McAlister died in a sinkhole at Mount Schank near Mount Gambier.

The 51-year-old was diving with a friend when he is believed to have become tangled in a rope. His friend tried to free him as both ran low on air, however he was unable to be saved.

The Cave Divers Association of Australia has been contacted for comment.

Speaking to the Knox Weekly newspaper four days before her disappearance, Ms Milowka spoke of her passion for exploring.

„In this day and age when you think that everything has been found and you don’t even have to get off your chair to see the world, it’s amazing to think there are still places human eyes have never seen before,“ she said.

„It’s a phenomal feeling – the rush, the thrill of exploration, it totally hooked me.“

Reflecting on the dangers of cave diving, she said she had experienced many close calls.

„Everything that could posibly go wrong for me has.

„I’ve been stuck in stupid places trying to push the envelope a bit, but when that happens you have three choices. You can panic and die, give up and die, or control your thoughts, feelings and emotions and give yourself the best chance of coming out alive.“

She also spoke of her work on Sanctum, released this year.

„It sounds glamorous but it was very hard work,“ she said.

„We worked very hard. There were 12-hour days, night shifts and it was quite challenging – but I loved it.

„Seeing the process of making a movie and watching the end product was just a fantastic experience.

„Because the movie was so full-on, I thought my grandparents may panic a bit. After they saw it, they said they were scared to death for me, but proud.“

Diver’s body recovered from caves

Updated 8 hours 34 minutes ago

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.

ABC/AAP

28. Februar 2011 Höhlen (caves)

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