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August 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 38, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Parents of Drowned Boy Sues PADI and Boy Scouts

from the August, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In March, we wrote that the Discover Diving programs that involve kids have the leading death rate in diving activities, one reason being that participants are frequently left alone underwater. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a Las Vegas couple is suing the Boy Scouts of America, PADI and its instructors for negligence after their 12-year-old son, David Tuvell, died in July 2011 while in a summer camp scuba diving program at Bear Lake, UT.

The boy was diving with another Boy Scout, a Scoutmaster and a diving instructor in 14 feet of water, in a ropedoff area on the east side of Bear Lake. In the diving area, there was a line laid along the bottom of the lake to guide divers back to shore. The instructor and the Scoutmaster surfaced, leaving the two boys holding onto the line. When the instructor dove again, the two boys were no longer holding onto the line and were nowhere in sight. One boy was found farther out from shore and brought back in alive. It took about 30 minutes for searchers to find Tuvell, who was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to ensure the boy was properly equipped, dressed and weighted. It states that they provided defective equipment, and did not manage, monitor or supervise the boy's air supply. When the emergency situation arose, the parties failed to aid and properly rescue Tuvell, the lawsuit alleges, and that "defendants failed to prepare and implement an adequate dive plan." Tuvell's parents claim that all the defendants were negligent, strictly liable, and failed to warn of the dangers posed by being part of the diving program.

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