Dive Rite’s Jared Hires dies in Norway’s Plura cave system – DIVE Magazine

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a photo of jared hires wearing a ccr rebreather
Industry stalwart Jared Hires died on 3 April in Norway’s Plura cave system (Photo: Dive Rite)

Technical cave-diving expert and Dive Rite General Manager, Jared Hires, has died while diving Pluragrotta, a popular cave-diving system located in Rana, Norway.

According to the local chief of police, Alf Ulrik Stenberg Rokstad, Hires was part of a group of nine divers, although he was in the water with just two other people when the tragedy occurred on the afternoon of April 3. The group was heading towards the exit after stopping in an open chamber for a gear check, when Hires reportedly suffered a seizure.

Rosemary Lunn, Business Development Director at The Underwater Marketing Company, and a friend of Mr Hires, posted details of the incident on Facebook after speaking to one of the divers involved:

A team of three divers entered Plura. The first diver, along with Jared Hires, had previously dived Plura in 2022, so they took position one and three respectively. The middle diver had not dived Plura, hence this dive team formation effectively protected them.

The 30 minute inward swim went well, with no issue, and the three divers surfaced in a giant air chamber known as the ‘Wedding Chamber’. After a chat the team turned to swim back out of Plura, again in the same formation. Jared Hires was diver three.

Diver one (who does not wish to be named), said: ‘we were probably 250m (800ft) from the surface when Jared’s light just went erratic. I turned and was with him in 10 – 15 seconds max. He was actively seizing. Diver two headed out to alert the surface to get help, and I swam Jared out of the cave.

Paramedics performed CPR on-site for an hour, but were unable to save Mr Hires. There are no details as yet as to what may have caused the seizure.

US native Hires was the son of Lamar Hires, who co-founded the famous tech-diving brand, Dive Rite, in 1984. Hires learned to dive at the age of 7, and at the age of 15 became the world’s youngest CCR diver ever certified at the time. Hires went on to qualify as a TDI technical, CCR and cavern-diving instructor, and became a popular and well-respected name within the technical diving community.

Pluragrotta is thought to be Northern Europe’s longest and deepest cave system. Most of the caves are un-diveable, but those that are have become a popular cave-diving destination, attracting more visitors per year than many other caves, since it was first dived in 1980.

There have been several fatalities over the years, although given Plura’s popularity, the numbers are relatively low. In 2006, the body of a Norwegian diver was recovered from the cave almost two weeks after he was reported missing; inspectors found damage to his equipment had likely resulted in an out-of-air situation.

In 2014, two Finnish divers died and three suffered decompression sickness after venturing more than 1km into Pluragrotta, to depths of around 130m. The accident resulted in a temporary closure of the cave system after a recovery dive was deemed too dangerous. A group of Finnish divers later retrieved the bodies; the story turned into a documentary Diving Into the Unknown.

The deputy mayor of Rana, Antia Sollie, has said there are no plans to close the Plura caves following Mr Hires’ tragic death.

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