It's a hobby some say they do for adrenaline, others for the challenge, for one cave diving enthusiast, it was a moment of life or death.
Around noon on Monday, a group of divers made a phone call to Cave Adventurers informing them about a fellow diver who was lost. What happened next determined the difference between a body recovery and a rescue.
"We know exactly what to do, we have everything already pre-prepared, tanks filled, tanks ready to go, everything just needs to be thrown in the back of the truck," says Frank Gonzalez, manager of Cave Adventurers. On Monday, Gonzalez and Edd Sorenson, owner of Cave Adventurers and Cave Instructor, did just that. "He [Gonzalez] laid in the bed of my truck while I drove 90 miles per hour to the site, putting my equipment together," says Sorenson.
Sorenson says from the time he got the call to the time he was in the water at Blue Springs, 11 minutes had passed. He says that is unheard of, but also made a big difference. "It was the difference between bringing out a live individual and a body," says Sorenson.
Sorenson is the owner of Cave Adventurers and has been part of the International Cave Rescue and Recovery Team for 14 years. This rescue is his third, but the diver was the fourth that he saved. However, he says rescues are usually uncommon. "There are no rescues, it's 99.999 percent body recovery," says Sorenson, who says that's one of the first thing his instructor taught him 14 years ago.
On Tuesday, Sorenson was back in the water along with fellow divers to make some repairs to the cave system since he had to cut some of the lines in the cave in order to rescue the diver.
Also in the water on Tuesday was a cave diver from Oklahoma, who heard of the cave diving incident at Cave Adventurers when he went to get equipment for his dive. He says the close call didn't affect his plans to dive. "I think when you're into cave diving, you're either into it or not, and when you're into it, you're not going to stop what you do," explains Nestler. "But the goal is also to learn to make sure you don't have the same accident or mistake happen."
Gonzalez picked up the hobby 9 months ago and says it won't stop him either. "I like things that really aren't necessarily safe, but can be safe when you do it the right way," says Gonzalez. "It's fun, something to get you're adrenaline going."
Sorenson says cave diving is "a calculated risk but with good instruction, it's a pretty safe sport."
Director of Parks and Recycling for Jackson county Chuck Hatcher tells me cave diving brings in 1.5 million dollars and one thousand divers from all over the nation along with 20 different countries this year to the area.