Scuba diver trapped under ice dies

A scuba diver perished on Saturday at the Ojamo lime mine in Lohja, after a group dive into the mine’s meandering tunnels.

Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

A scuba diving accident claimed the life of one man on Saturday. The Ojamo lime mine is the most popular cave diving site in Finland, and is situated in Lohja, 60 kilometres west of Helsinki.

Rescue Services said that it took about 15 minutes to retrieve the middle-aged diver from the water once the rescue units and the air ambulance arrived, and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Police are investigating the cause of the incident.

Ojamo was a working lime mine in Finland from 1925 to 1965. A network of tunnels several kilometres long begins at the bottom of the abandoned quarry. Scuba diving is considered more pleasant there than in the dim waters of the Gulf of Finland because the water is clear and the temperature inside the mine is approximately four degrees year round.

Jukka Eklund, the on-duty fire chief responding to the tragedy, said it is also one of the only old mines in Finland that is suitable for scuba diving. He says the location is unfortunately the scene of dozens of accidents as well.

Eklund says divers are aware of the risks, particularly in the wintertime when there’s ice cover, but return to dive there regardless.