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Instructor sentenced after diver's death

Discussion in 'Scuba Related Court Cases' started by European, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
    Maybe I missed it, but I can't figure how someone decided a fine of some $3000 was "right". In the US our FAA routinely puts a value of some $3.2 million on one wrongful death for one young adult. Rashly assuming tourists are worth about the same thing in most of Europe, that means the court decided the instructor was what, 1/10,00th of one percent at fault? So, basically, guilty but only technically?

    The same way a US court would award one dollar in damages, just to make a point?
  2. Norwegian Cave Diver

    Norwegian Cave Diver Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
    Your missing my point. My comment had nothing to do with the dive shop and their responsibilities and everything to do with these two divers and how they may have been thinking before the dive.
  3. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich Solo Diver

    First, they weren’t on trial. Second you were making a hyperbolic generalization. This was a couple of blue water vacation diver that were interested checking out the local dive scene. They were not the product of battling GUI versus DIR, BP/W wars. These were your pretty typical vacation divers. They knew this dive was out of their skill set and unfortunately for them they hired an ass-hat to equip them and lead the dive. Not everyone that takes scuba classes want to become scuba-ninja. Had they hired a competent guide/shop, they would done their little adventure, said “that was freaking cold and dark. How much is the airfare to the Red Sea?”

    The entire idea of having shops, DMs and instructors get certified is to protect the diving public from ass-hats like them. The system failed. They died, the bad guys were found guilty. I feel terrible for the survivor. She lost her mate. I seriously doubt she’ll ever dive again and she will probably think of every red flag she saw and didn’t act on every night of her life.

    How were they thinking before the dive was not ever described, so guessing about their state of mind is just that, guessing. They may have been super excited, or had serious misgivings but didn’t want to be rude to the people that gifted them dive.

    If they got into a cab with a drunk driver, are you going to blame them for the crash? When did they know he was drunk? Why didn’t they have him stop? With no information about them, other than what was mentioned, you are going blame them?
    StefinSB, Pkishino and kafkaland like this.
  4. leadduck

    leadduck Barracuda

    When putting blame on the victim or the guide please consider how little is known actually. Did the guide tell the victim to use a thin wetsuit? Or did the victim insist on diving with his vacation gear against the dive guide's advice to rent better gear for money (not included in the voucher)? Was it a case of "the customer is always right" in a grey area? They guide was eventually sentenced for leaving the victim on the bottom whereas he could easily have rescued him.
  5. frogster84

    frogster84 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Germany
    As previously posted, this was the criminal case - basically the fine means the that instructor found liable, but only to an limited extend.
    The fine is so low since in german law, the income and the assets of the defendant are considered (he might have been sentenced to pay 100 days income)

    In addition, civil penalties are MUCH lower compared to US fines - punitive damages are almost non-existent and you basically receive just the damage proven
  6. leadduck

    leadduck Barracuda

    This damage that his family may claim in a civil law suit includes the income of the victim that he would have contributed to the household for the rest of his life and may exceed a million. It will be paid by the liability insurance and is independent of the instructor's income and assets.
  7. Lobzilla

    Lobzilla Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: North Carolina, Maryland
    And that is a good thing, IMO.

    In the USA, too many morons are getting rewarded for their decisions and acts because some ambulance (or hearse) chaser sees an opportunity to make a buck. That causes more and more moronic behavior.

    In the case of the German accident I percieve the divers more as victims than as co-conspirators.
  8. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich Solo Diver

    The shop supplied both the tanks and thermal protection (if I recall correctly), they also agreed to provide the guide for the dive.

    The C-card does not mean they possess the knowledge and skills to make the dive, where fortune cookie fed you that line? The C-card says they have training to make dives, not that dive or all dives, just dives consistent with their training. To gain experience, you either A) take more classes B) find divers who have experience with that type of dive act as a mentor C) hire an experienced guide to help safely plan and execute the dive D) you figure it out overtime yourself with experience.

    The DM put himself in a tough position. He did not properly equip the two divers that hired him or manage the situation that he created for his customers.

    I taught for twelve years, the expectation is that when I had students in my charge, I was responsible for there safety. The reason this couple ended up in trouble was because they listened to someone that marketed himself as a skilled professional, familiar with the location and the equipment required to make the dive safely.

    If you can show me ANYTHING that says a C-card means you are trained for anything other than the conditions you were trained in, I would love to see it.
  9. mac64

    mac64 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Ireland
    No one has a right to expect to be rescued. To convict a person for failing to rescue is totally wrong
  10. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    In scuba training, new divers are taught that when they encounter conditions for which they were not trained, they should seek out local help. With PADI, they are told to do a Discover Local Diving dive with a local professional. That is what they did.
    The laws on this vary by location. In Australia, when Gabe Watson failed to rescue his wife Tina while they were diving, he had no choice under local law but to plead guilty to manslaughter. He spent a year in jail. People misunderstand that plea and assume it meant he was pleading guilty to taking active steps to kill her, but the truth is he was simply guilty of failing to rescue her.

    In every case I know in which a dive guide was charged in relation to a dive fatality, the result hinged upon whether the guide's actions were reasonable. In the most famous case, the guide led a group beyond recreational depths, ignored a diver's signals that he was getting low on air, and refused to share with him when he ran out. You will no doubt believe it was the diver's fault that he died, but the jury found the guide guilty.
    Dan_T likes this.

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