Brett Hemphill’s friends informed that their efforts to retrieve his body from Phantom Springs were successful. They also thanked all those who helped in the effort.
We finished recovering Brett from the cave this evening. Thank you to everyone who has contributed in any way. When we have got all the information and analyzed it, we will issue a statement about the incident that will answer everyone’s questions. Until then, please allow us some time to come to terms with his loss, as up until now we have been focused on the recovery. Thank you – Andy Pitkin.
Brett Hemphill died on October 4 when he did not return from an exploration dive at Phantom Springs. This is a cave system located in Texas that KUR-affiliated volunteers were exploring as part of their activities. In terms of diving, the cave is a very challenging site, and exploring it involves covering long distances and operating at significant depths.
Phantom Springs is known as an incredibly challenging uncerwater cave system, the exploration of which requires a great deal of experience and skills. The area is a federally protected site that can be only explored in scientific purpose and only with a special permit. Any person trying to dive there on their own is risking multiple felonies.
On October 4th, Brett Hemphill failed to return from an exploratory cave dive. The dive with Andy Pitkin began at 10:45 AM on Wednesday morning to explore a lead starting in 450 feet (170m) of water at about 7300 feet (2225m) of penetration. He can be seen on video tying off the guideline on a rock at 570 feet and the team subsequently became separated. Brett never returned from the dive. Currently the team’s full focus is to recover Brett safely from a depth of over 450 feet and over a mile into this underwater cave. That effort will involve a number of recovery divers travelling thousands of miles to assist.
For the past few days, a team of experienced cave divers has been focused on recovering Brett Hemphill’s body from the Phantom Springs. This efforts were supported by cave divers from all around the globe who often traveled thousands of miles to offer their knowledge, skills and experience on the spot. All of the work was carried out with their own funds and support that came in through an online donation.
Brett Hemphill was not only a diver with a colossal experience, but also a man dedicated to the science and exploration, and the president of Karst Underwater Research (KUR), a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration, study and preservation of underwater karst environments that scientists are unable to reach.
Our focus is to identify opportunities for characterizing and collecting scientific information about karst systems for academic research, environmental protection and public knowledge. We fill the crucial niche of supporting scientists and other concerned. We also help scientists plan or refine their research plans based on our observations and data collections. We are a volunteer organization that relies on the efforts of skilled (and enthusiastic) volunteers with their own exploration equipment to execute our research efforts.
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