Photos by @shonephoto (Robbie Shone) | In August 2017, 49 years after being discovered, cave explorers reached a depth of -2,212m (7,257ft) in Veryovkina [cave] located in the Caucasus Mountains and set a new record for world’s deepest cave.
In September 2018, @shonephoto joined members of the Perovo Speleo Caving Team where he wanted to capture the work of the explorers as they pushed the boundaries of exploration deep beneath the earth.
It took four days of abseiling (repelling) and thrutching through tight meandering passages to reach the bottom. The team then spent a week camped at -2,100m from where they made ‘day’ trips to the bottom.
On day 11, things changed dramatically when a flood pulse hit the cave. The team waited at camp as the rumbling sound of a freight train getting louder and louder made its way through the inky blackness above. It hit the explorers and continued downwards. After a few hours everything started bubbling and gurgling. The water rose so fast, the team barely had time to get kitted up and out of the way. They left all the non-essential gear, including @shonephoto camera equipment. He took his precious memory cards that stored these photos showing the cave before the flood. The last person had to swim over the tent at camp to escape. The shafts and passages became a fierce torrent of water that was difficult to find air space to breath in. In total the water rose 130m above the base level. Read more from this harrowing story on @NatGeo . Photography for this expedition was supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society.