- Reaction score
- # of dives
- 500 - 999
Two Divers Missing at Underwater Section of the Great Wall
Two scuba divers have gone missing while exploring a little-known, underwater section of the Great Wall in Hebei province.
The two divers, identified as Denovo Xu and Sun Hao, failed to surface from a dive on Wednesday morning, September 6, in the Panjiakou Reservoir, about halfway between the Eastern Qing Tombs and Chengde, about a three-hour drive northeast of Beijing.
Xu and Sun were conducting exploratory dives on the Xifengkou section of the Wall, a more remote section than is usually visited by recreational divers. In an email to this author in August, Xu described the area as being "deeper, with propaganda banners etc."
A search has been underway ever since, involving search teams from Beijing and Tangshan, along with remote cameras and sonar, Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) China, with which Xu was affiliated, said in a WeChat newsletter update. Although both divers were believed to be using closed circuit rebreathers (CCR), which would provide much greater air supplies than normal scuba tanks, it is unlikely that those units could have lasted such a long time.
The underwater section of the Great Wall was created in 1977, when the Panjiakou Reservoir (潘家口水库) was created to provide nearby Tangshan with an additional water supply, flooding with it several hundred meters of the wall. Recreational divers visit the shallower section of the wall regularly, which can vary in depth from just a few meters to as much as 40 meters – the limit for sport diving. The use of CCRs is considered technical diving, and requires special equipment and training, which Xu and Sun both had.
While the Great Wall is appropriate for recreational and technical divers, both face the challenges of cold water, especially at great depths, and often limited visibility.