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.