The caves are located in the Plurdalen valley in Northern Norway, a favourite venue for scuba diving enthusiasts. The Norwegian Public Broadcasting Company NRK says the Finnish divers dove into the caves in defiance of the diving ban imposed by Norwegian authorities on the Pluragrotta area.
The Norwegian police are now investigating the incident and questioning the team of 17 divers that made the recovery. The bodies have been moved to the dry sections of the cave network and technical analysis of the caves continued on Thursday.
“The first thing in order of importance is to care for the bodies, followed by what is necessary for the investigation of the diving accident itself. That the Finnish divers disobeyed the diving ban is a separate issue, and we are not focused on that at the moment,” said Norwegian Police Chief Kristin Elnaes.
Two Finns died while exploring the caves on February 7, while three other divers made it back to the surface alive. Norwegian authorities decided in late February that they wouldn’t risk more lives to raise the bodies, as it was considered too dangerous.
The Finnish Divers’ Association said it had no awareness of the operation. Member Jouni Piispanen commented on the retrieval of the bodies on a general level:
“As long as it is not illegal, I think it is a good thing.”
Piispanen feels that the retrieval was a good solution for the family members of the deceased and is also a positive development in that now nothing will be left in the caves that would entice other divers to the scene.
“The legal issue is something different all together,” said Piispanen. At this point it is unclear whether violating the diving ban can be interpreted as breaking the law.