On-Scene Diving Accident Investigation.

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Title: On-Scene Diving Accident Investigation.
Author: Barsky, SM
Abstract: When a diving accident occurs, an investigation of some type usually follows. In many cases, there are multiple investigators, each with a different agenda. If the police become involved, their approach is to look for any evidence of a homicide. The U.S. Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.) normally performs some type of investigation any time there is a death that occurs when diving takes place from a vessel in U.S. coastal waters. In the event of an accident during an organized dive through a dive store, such as a travel event or training, the certification agency’s insurance carrier will normally dispatch an investigator under the direction of an attorney to research the case, interview those involved and collect the equipment. Unfortunately, in most cases, the investigation takes place some time after the event has occurred. The quickest response in some cases may be the U.S.C.G., if they fly an investigator out to a vessel. In most cases, the police will meet a boat, or travel to a beach site. In the diving industry, the investigation may not take place until weeks or even months after the event has taken place. It depends on how fast the persons involved report the event, how long it takes the paperwork to move through the legal department of the training agency and how proactive the insurance carrier is in dispatching an investigator. If the investigator is tied up with other work or cannot make contact with the persons who were involved in a timely manner, there may be further delays in the investigation. No matter how quickly an investigation is launched, in almost every case, the body has been recovered and resuscitation attempted, equipment has been removed and possibly damaged or lost, and the people at the site have returned to their homes. The equipment may be mishandled by the authorities who are unfamiliar with the gear and have stored it improperly. This paper addresses the steps involved in a recreational diving accident investigation as performed by the author. They cover personal interviews with witnesses and those involved, equipment inspection (not testing), sequestration of the equipment, site inspection and document collection. Equipment used in the course of an accident investigation will also be discussed.
Description: Copyright © 2011 by Divers Alert Network, 6 West Colony Place Durham, NC 27705. This book is available for download at no cost as a PDF file from the Divers Alert Network website (http://www.DiversAlertNetwork.org/). Opinions and data presented at the Conference and in these Proceedings are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Divers Alert Network.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9305
Date: 2011

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