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Diving instructor faces court over death

Discussion in 'Diving Litigation' started by triminx145, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. BubblesDown

    BubblesDown Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Perth, Australia
    And this was the comment that I was more referring to. There is so much more to the story and this person is seemingly blaming the instructor. Trust me, there is more.
  2. Rhone Man

    Rhone Man Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: British Virgin Islands
    Bubbles, it can be brutal watching friends and loved ones being dragged through the justice system. And having the case discussed in public forums is not much better. But by and large the system works, and your friend will have her day to make her case.

    Trust me, no jury is going to be influenced by opinions that get posted on Scubaboard.

    EDIT: Just as an interesting counterpoint, there was a diver who was on trial for murder recently in the British Virgin Islands (different situation obviously, but still) and his friends and family were very active on Scubaboard canvassing opinions of experienced divers and lawyers and sifting through evidence. In the end he was actually convicted, and most of the sifting occurred after the jury's verdict. But had that exercise been undergone earlier, I don't doubt defence counsel could have latched on to a few nuggets that the friends and family managed to work loose from discussing various aspects bouncing ideas around on the board. I had no idea that so much discussion could be had over a snorkel holder.
  3. DCBC

    DCBC Banned

    Unfortunately, much of "the industry" includes companies and individuals that balance safety with greed. Perhaps government regulation of equipment and training would be positive for the end user. It has worked well in the Commercial Diving sector for many years and has saved lives!

    Regulations outlining what training and equipment an instructor requires, as well as regulations for commercial diving charter operators would ensure (IMO) a higher degree of safety for the diver. Many get perturbed by the thought of Government regulation, but most of these are people with a vested interest; it might affect their bottom-line and put a dint in their pocket-book. Greed loves a free-for-all. :)
  4. wanderlass

    wanderlass Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: somewhere only we know
    i believe only if it's a byproduct of gross negligence on the part of a professional or operator or both
  5. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    The broken record starts over again.

    Perhaps the greed lies among those who want government regulations to justify their overly bloated classes?

    It's incredibly easy to cite "Greed" as the motivator and yet no one has provided any evidence for this greed. I know of no agency that has suggested that an instructor put fiduciary concerns over their students' safety. None. Nada. Squat. I challenge you to either produce such evidence or stop pushing your vendetta. Sure, you might get a hearty "Amen" from a few who share your "If they don't train the way you do then they must be evil" concept, but you are really doing nothing but casting baseless aspersions. Give it a rest.

    As I read the thread, one thing became obvious. People are quick to impose their pet theories on just about every incident. I'm not suggesting that there is no fault here: someone actually died. I do
    suggest that we all learn some patience and see what develops from those close to the source. There is no need to condemn a state, an agency or even the instructor until we get all the facts. Assigning them motives (like greed) is even beyond that and often derails discussions into cyber shouting matches.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  6. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    Bubbles -- IF you know factual information about this incident, please provide it. Facts are facts and what you might write here will have NO impact on any criminal litigation -- as long as you are NOT a witness or otherwise directly involved. BUT, if you have some valid information which can help the discussion, please provide.

    As an instructor (and a retired attorney), I am acutely aware of the liability, both civil and criminal, that surrounds me every time I dive with someone, whether a student or not. MY only real protection is to make sure that my diving is skillful and that I don't do anything to harm those with me. But isn't how all of us should dive?
  7. mitsuguy

    mitsuguy Captain

    # of Dives:
    Location: st croix, usvi
    I have a huge issue with this statement in the article: "He says Ms Dai's weight belt was "too heavy" and her air regulator was faulty."

    I'd like definitions... How heavy is too heavy? When I take DSD's out, I make an experienced guess at how much weight they will need. I am usually pretty darned close, and carry extra weight with me in case I'm wrong. Everyone ends up overweighted at the beginning of the dive (full tank) and hopefully closer to neutral at the end. Very generic statements like this, IMO, are absolutely ridiculous, and would be easy for a prosecutor to leverage against the defendant in front of the jury. Regulator faulty? What kind of fault? By definition, a regulator with a tiny hole in the diaphragm is faulty and will breathe wet, yet the instructor may never ever know there was a fault (and a student may never know it was even wrong to start). Where we (as instructors) get screwed is in the way prosecutors like to word things and place blame on us, where there may be no blame at all anyways.

    I don't think I'll ever dive Australia, nor would I ever want to teach there if things are this harsh (especially when you take into account the liability they put on divemasters when leading certified divers). At any rate, something I have witnessed (though wasn't the instructor), was a co-instructor leading a single discover scuba student. Student did all of the skills with ease, then went on to do the dive. Our dive is a gradual slope from 5' to 40' (it goes much deeper, but not where we take the students and there is always sand underneath them). At any rate, instructor and student are 10 minutes into the dive, no problems thus far with the student. In 25' of water, student starts panicking and starts swimming towards the surface. As an instructor, we want to slow the ascent, ensure they aren't holding their breath, etc. Problem is, what happened to my co-worker was that even with dumping all the air and controlling the ascent, the student still could have held their breath for a small time. What happens if that would have happened? Wasn't the instructors fault - the student was given all the right info and the instructor took care of them as best as possible.

    Add in an overzealous family or prosecutor, and they can twist that into them having 1 lb too much weight which caused their death... It will be interesting to see how it turns out and specifics, if available as well...
  8. marinediva

    marinediva Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Illawarra.....south of Sydney australia & Balmain
    Hi Peter,
    not sure as to why but in Australia, we just don't discuss cases that are in court in public, till the case is heard. Maybe to do with the selection of a jury should it be required in the future.
    Maybe it is something that is unique to AUst.
    It should be noted that this case is not being discussed in any shape or form on a rather active Australian dive site. I had felt that it is important for other international divers to understand why the process of an instructor being charged is understood, but the fragment of details offered in this case are not enough to warrant any comment.
  9. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    marinediva -- Thank you for that. And yes, I can't think of why that would be the case either -- especially when "discussing" something on the internet on a BB that is based in the US with a primarily US based audience. But if that is the culture, that is the culture.
  10. marinediva

    marinediva Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Illawarra.....south of Sydney australia & Balmain
    The thread comes up on a google search,
    maybe just an aussie thing, I do agree with you Peter though,
    it should be discussed eventually.

    Just on that,
    I made a decision many years ago and my family and friends have received instructions, that in the event of an accident, that my mistakes are to be discussed. If someone can learn something from them it is a good thing. the instructions state they are not to get upset, and they are not to blame people, my risk, my fault no matter what is said.

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