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April 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Punishment Abroad for Training Deaths

but it will never happen here

from the April, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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While the family lawsuit over the death of Linnea Mills was settled with PADI for seven figures, there has only been a cursory investigation by the government, and no charges were filed against the instructor, her employer, or PADI. The plaintiffs alleged that the instructor, Debbie Snow, failed on several counts and was responsible for Mills' death. It further implicated her employer, Gull Dive Center of Missoula (MT), for failing to manage her and PADI for inadequate training and instructor oversight. But, unless the government decides to bring charges aside from the money that transferred hands, no one has been held responsible for Mills' death. Dive training in the U.S. still relies on self-regulation, which sometimes means no accountability at all.

It's not like that in other countries, such as the U.K., where dive training is subject to regulation derived from statute. Authorities investigate accidents, subject those convicted to punitive damages, and seek to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents.

For example, in the U.K. in January 2023, technical diving instructor Lance Palmer was found guilty of breaching government regulations in the death of his student, Roger Clarke, 55, who drowned during a training dive. Palmer was sentenced in a magistrate's court and ordered to pay roughly $3800 in legal costs and contribute 50 hours of unpaid work....

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