Europe

Polish explorer says he found deepest underwater cave

  • In this photo taken Sept. 27, 2016 in the flooded Hranicka Propast, or Hranice Abyss, in the Czech Republic Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski, left, and Bartlomiej Grynda, right, are reading images from a remotely-operated underwater robot, or ROV, that went to the record depth of 404 meters ,1,325 feet, revealing the limestone abyss to be the world's deepest flooded cave, during the 'Hranicka Propast - step beyond 400m' expedition led by Starnawski and partly funded by the National Geographic. (AP Photo/ Marcin Jamkowski)

    In this photo taken Sept. 27, 2016 in the flooded Hranicka Propast, or Hranice Abyss, in the Czech Republic Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski, left, and Bartlomiej Grynda, right, are reading images from a remotely-operated underwater robot, or ROV, that went to the record depth of 404 meters ,1,325 feet, revealing the limestone abyss to be the world's deepest flooded cave, during the 'Hranicka Propast - step beyond 400m' expedition led by Starnawski and partly funded by the National Geographic. (AP Photo/ Marcin Jamkowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this underwater photo taken Aug. 21, 2015, in the flooded Hranicka Abyss, Czech Republic, Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski is seen examining the limestone crevasse and preparing for a 2016 expedition to measure it depths. On Sept. 27, 2016 Starnawski and his Polish-Czech team discovered that the cave goes 404 meters (1,325 feet) down, making it the world's deepest known flooded abyss. (Krzysztof Starnawski of the Krzysztof Starnawski EXPEDITION via AP)

    In this underwater photo taken Aug. 21, 2015, in the flooded Hranicka Abyss, Czech Republic, Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski is seen examining the limestone crevasse and preparing for a 2016 expedition to measure it depths. On Sept. 27, 2016 Starnawski and his Polish-Czech team discovered that the cave goes 404 meters (1,325 feet) down, making it the world's deepest known flooded abyss. (Krzysztof Starnawski of the Krzysztof Starnawski EXPEDITION via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This map made available to The Associated Press by Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, shows a cross-section of the flooded Hranicka Propast, or Hranice Abyss, in the Czech Republic that Starnawski's Czech and Polish team recently revealed to be the world's deepest known flooded cave. On Sept. 27, 2016, the team used a remotely-operated underwater robot, or ROV, to search for the cave's bottom. It went to the record depth of 404 meters (1,325 feet) but still has not found the bottom, during the 'Hranicka Propast - step beyond 400m' expedition led by Starnawski and partly funded by the National Geographic. (Krzysztof Starnawski Expedition via AP)

    This map made available to The Associated Press by Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, shows a cross-section of the flooded Hranicka Propast, or Hranice Abyss, in the Czech Republic that Starnawski's Czech and Polish team recently revealed to be the world's deepest known flooded cave. On Sept. 27, 2016, the team used a remotely-operated underwater robot, or ROV, to search for the cave's bottom. It went to the record depth of 404 meters (1,325 feet) but still has not found the bottom, during the 'Hranicka Propast - step beyond 400m' expedition led by Starnawski and partly funded by the National Geographic. (Krzysztof Starnawski Expedition via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A Polish explorer says he and his team have discovered the world's deepest underwater cave, 404 meters (1,325 feet) down, near the eastern Czech town of Hranice.

Krzysztof Starnawski told The Associated Press Friday he felt like a "Columbus of the 21th century" to have made the discovery.

Starnawski found the cave Tuesday in the Hranice Abyss, which he has explored since 1998. He scuba dived to a narrow slot at 200 meters' depth and let through a specially made underwater robot that went to the depth of 404 meters.

He said that that makes Hranice Abyss the world's deepest known underwater cave, beating the previous record-holder, Italy's Pozzo del Merro flooded sinkhole, by 12 meters (39 feet.)

He said some of the costs were covered by the National Geographic, which first reported the discovery .