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Lost diver rescued after 8 hours in icy mine pit

A diver who took part in a diving exercise on Thursday got lost in the old Haveri mine pit in central Finland.

Haverin kultakaivos kartalla.
Image: Antti Eintola / Yle, Google Maps
Yle News

A diver who became lost while diving in a disused mining pit was rescued after a harrowing eight hours in ice-cold water on Thursday. The Haveri mine is located in the town of Ylöjärvi, in central Finland.

The ordeal began when two experienced divers descended to a depth of 80 meters in the mine as part of a diving exercise. They planned to be underwater for more than three hours, but one of them ended up in the water much longer.

One of the divers — reportedly a middle-aged man — became disoriented during their ascent or just before it, according to Lauri Marjamäki, head of the Haveri mine divers association.

"The pair split up due to poor visibility. One diver managed to surface through the planned route and the other got lost on the longer route back."

Marjamäki and his partner dove into the pit, and after around an hour of searching, finally spotted their lost companion.

Marjamäki provided the diver with extra oxygen and batteries for his electrically-heated suit as the water was the frigid temperature of three degrees Celsius.

Because of his help, the diver had enough oxygen to survive.

Slow journey to the surface

"There was no real danger to his life, even though it was a long dive. The standard diving equipment helped him push through," Marjamäki explained.

The diver made a very slow ascent to the surface with the help of ropes to avoid decompression sickness.

After the ordeal, the emergency rescue department assessed the hungry and dehydrated diver’s condition and said that hospitalisation was not necessary. The rescued man reportedly even asked if there was still some warm food left to eat.

However, he chose not to speak to media about the incident.

Haveri is a former iron and gold mine, which was closed down in the 1960s and located in Viljakkala, Ylöjärvi in the Pirkanmaa region, around 40 kilometres from Tampere.

After mining activities ended, the open mine pit was filled with water and became a popular diving site accessible to diving associations.

A total of four divers have been reported killed at the site during the 1980s and '90s.

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