On 7th February 2014 a two line report was posted on the forum 'Rebreather World', advising of a Norwegian diving incident.
"Sadly, two divers died in the caves of Plura yesterday. They ran into problems at ~130m. Three team mates made it back to the surface and [sic] was taken to the chamber. The three divers are OK.
The Dive Plan
In the world of caving and cave-diving, physically discovering the link between different cave systems is a significant exploration achievement. Once linked, if the system is very challenging, it is quite possible that very few cavers / cave-divers, if any, will subsequently make the known through-trip.
In early 2014 five friends decided that they wanted to dive the Plura Cave through-trip. The plan was that two teams of rebreather divers - a buddy pair and a team of three - would enter at Plura, dive the system, and exit at Steinuglefåget.
The team would then overnight in a rented house near the Plura entrance, then dive the system in reverse the next day. The planned dive time was five hours, with a maximum planned depth of 129 mt / 423 ft. The team would carry bail-out gas and bailout rebreathers.
On the 6th February 2014 the first team made a hole in the ice at the Plura 'start site', whilst the second team drove to the Steinuflåget 'end site' to leave clothing and equipment. The second team then returned to Plura, and helped the first team finish kitting up. Once the first team were in the water, the second team prepared for their dive. They entered the water about two hours after the first team.
Long story short, this story changed the lives of the five friends forever. One diver in the first team got stuck in a restriction in the cave at 110 mt / 360 ft and subsequently died.
The second team were unaware of the tragedy as they entered the water. Their first part of their dive was also uneventful, until the three divers came across the body of their friend. A second diver then died. The three surviving divers made it out of the system safely, but were all hospitalised with decompression sickness. They were subsequently interviewed by the Norwegian authorities, who promptly closed Plura cave.
Official Body Recovery
The Norwegian authorities planned an official recovery operation of the two bodies. They called in three renowned British cave explorers who specialise in rescue and recovery work in caves, to do the job. The team comprised of Rick Stanton, John Volanthen and Jason Mallinson.
The team accessed the cave from Steinuglefåget and surveyed the accident site.
""It was evident that it was going to be quite a protracted affair, lots of dives, down deep and cold - and that was really beyond our remit," stated Rick Stanton. "The only alternative was to perform the traverse from Plura all over again, and thus gain access to the victims from the other side."
The team deemed the process was too risky, and the Norwegian police called off the recovery. Plura Cave remained closed.