David Shaw died on 8 January 2005 whilst seeking to recover the body of Deon Dreyer, a South African diver who had himself died 10 years previously, and whose body Shaw had discovered at a depth of 270 metres (890 ft) of fresh water in Bushman's Hole, South Africa in October 2004.
Shaw recorded his dive with an underwater camera and this recording relayed valuable information that allowed researchers to determine that he suffered from an effort-independent expiratory flow which resulted in an inability to match ventilation to the demands of physical work at that great depth. Shaw ran into difficulties when he cut loose Dreyer's harness and the body unexpectedly began to float (Shaw had been advised by various experts that the body would remain negatively buoyant because the visible parts were reduced to the skeleton - however, within his wetsuit, Dreyer's corpse had turned into a soap-like substance called adipocere, which floats). Shaw had been working with both hands, and so had been resting his cable light on the cave floor. Normally he would have wrapped the cable around his neck, but he had been unable to do so due to the helmet he wore with the camera. The lines from the body bag appear to have gotten tangled with the cable light, and the physical effort of trying to free himself led to Shaw's expiring. The next day, both of the bodies floated up to near the surface as the dive team was retrieving their equipment.
The dive which David Shaw died on was the 333rd of his career. At the time of his world record setting dive, he had been diving for just over 5 years.
From the video it is possible to speculate about events immediately preceding his death. Such possibilities include that a rapid descent caused severe nitrogen narcosis which possibly resulted in him blacking out after hitting the bottom at 91.6 meters. Alternatively, a convulsion due to oxygen toxicity in which he lost his regulator and drowned is another possible circumstance leading to his death. It is unclear, however, if his frantic movements towards the end of the video indicate a convulsion or rather were panicked attempts to return to the surface. The video does not clearly show what was happening to Lipski, and ultimately the "mysterious" circumstances surrounding Lipski's death add to the lore and notoriety of the Blue Hole as the "World's Most Dangerous Dive Site".
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