The cave, named Hranická Propast, is 39 feet deeper than the previous record holder Pozzo del Merro in Italy
A team of explorers claim to have found the world’s deepest underwater cave in the Czech Republic.
The cave, called Hranická Propast, is located near the eastern Czech town of Hranice and goes at least 1,325 feet deep into the Earth’s core, making it about 39 feet deeper than the previous record holder, Italy’s Pozzo del Merro cave. Polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski, who led the expedition, says he feels like a “Columbus of the 21th century” after making this stunning discovery.
Starnawski first explored the cave Hranická Propast in 1999 but it was not until recently that he was able to realize how deep the cave goes. In 2014, after reaching what he thought was the bottom, he discovered an extremely narrow opening called a "squeeze passage" which went to further 656 feet down. Later, he managed to reach the depths of 1,214 feet, falling just dozens of feet short of than deepest cave Pozzo del Merro.
Last year, Starnawski touched down at 1,214 feet but the actual, record-breaking depth of the cave was determined on September 27 this year. But his time around researchers used a remotely operated underwater robot, or ROV to go further because the robots have the capacity to go beyond the limits of a human diver and can navigate through restricted passages. The robot that descended to a depth of 404 meters or 1,325 feet is the new verified record for the deepest flooded cave.
“The dive on September 27 was one in the long series of dives that I did in the last 20 years in Hranická Propast. They all had the same goal: to explore the cave further and deeper.” Starnawski told National Geographic.
But researchers have still not hit the bottom and they think that the cave could extend even deeper than current estimates. The team is planning to continue exploration and to probe the contours of Hranická Propast.