‘That’s when I panicked’: woman’s close call while setting new ...

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‘That’s when I panicked’: woman’s close call while setting new dive record

The SA diver nearly became the Northern Cape cave’s fourth victim since 1993

Jonathan Ancer

Karen van den Oever is the world’s deepest woman – and she has the record to prove it. The 38-year-old technical diver from Johannesburg plunged 236m to claim the title from Verna van Schaik, who had set the record at 221m in 2001.

“This is crazy,” Van den Oever told herself moments before she descended into the inky black water at the 282.6m-deep Boesmansgat Cave in Mount Carmel in the Northern Cape on March 26. She was nervous as she thought about all the things that could go wrong, but she calmed down and focused on the dive in the underwater cave that has claimed the lives of three other divers: Eben Leyden in 1993, Deon Dreyer a year later and Dave Shaw, who had gone to retrieve Dreyer’s body, in 2005. Van den Oever nearly became the cave’s fourth victim.

“I thought I wasn’t going to come back,” she told Sunday Times Daily on Friday. ..

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