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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 06:49 GMT
Robot camera joins diver search
Dorothea Quarry in Gwynedd
Dorothea Quarry has been the scene of many fatalities
Police diving experts have lowered a robotic camera into a north Wales lake in the search for a missing diver.

The family of 57 year old garage owner Denis Dransfield from Oldham, Greater Manchester were at the Dorothea quarry in the Nantlle Valley to see the operation get underway.

Divers at Dorothea quarry, north Wales
The quarry is popular with diving enthusiasts

The extreme depths of the quarry make it unsuitable for a search by police divers, so they are using a remote-controlled device which is fitted with a camera.

So far, the search has produced no results.

Mr Dransfield is the fifth diver to die in the old slate quarry, near Caernarfon, within a year.

The quarry has claimed the lives of around 20 divers in the last 10 years and scores more have been rescued.

A senior police officer said on Monday that the diver's body was at a considerable depth, testing equipment.

The 300 foot-deep quarry is considered one of the best freshwater diving sites in the UK.

The search for the missing man began at 1130 GMT on Sunday, but was abandoned as light began to fade.

'Mixed gas'

It is thought the missing man had set out to reach a depth of 100m using a "mixed gas" diving unit, which lets divers reach greater depths than conventional diving equipment.

Earlier this year, the quarry's owner urged enthusiasts to stay away after the death of Paul Amison, 32, from Staffordshire.

Blocked off

Glyn Small said he had made repeated efforts to prevent thrill-seekers using the area, but all his attempts to block access had been ignored.

Just days after the death in February, he had to ask a group of divers from Cambridgeshire who were at the quarry to leave.

He said the roads into the quarry had been closed off with 30 tonne boulders and huge trenches, but groups had still managed to get into the site.

"I hope the people who are doing this have a conscience because these deaths need not have happened," he said.

Mr Small has talked of plans to create a proper scuba-diving centre at the quarry.

He has said any such development would be manned by qualified staff and would have safety resources including a rescue boat, a helipad and a portable hyperbaric chamber.

See also:

24 Feb 02 | Wales
24 Feb 02 | Wales
19 Dec 01 | Wales
18 Dec 01 | Wales
02 Aug 00 | Wales
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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