Lake Minnetonka fatality - Minnesota

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Bob DBF

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This may be a little "nit picky." Surface-supply would seem to be more about extending a dive, than dive-safety, and potentially add entanglement hazards.

Surface supplied is all about dive safety, one has an extended period of time to deal with any emergency, including entangelments.

That explains it. You have a business who employs divers who .... not only lack commercial training, but ANY dive training at all. I expect to see lawsuits rolling in soon.

I think the employer foolish, however I don't know what his insurance policy or what the employment contract says.

As for training, some seem to equate lack of formal training with no training, which is not necessarily the case. In addition, there is no law that requires formal training for any type of diving.

The accident is unfortunate, I wish we had more information to determine what actually happened.
 

Barefoot_Lawyer

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I think the employer foolish, however I don't know what his insurance policy or what the employment contract says.



In addition, there is no law that requires formal training for any type of diving.

1) It wouldn’t be unheard of for the business owner to “forget to mention” on his insurance application that he has untrained workers on SCUBA doing the weed removal. If he described his business as workers going in to shallow water to remove weeds with manual labor, it may not have come up or been second guessed.

2) these were probably at-will employees with no contract or worse, employees misclassified as independent contractors so that he could attempt to not even need work comp insurance for them.

3) while technically true that there is no formal training required, I think OSHA regs are going to crucify this business owner based upon the outcome: Federal Register :: Request Access

- “Each dive team member shall have the experience or training necessary to perform assigned tasks in a safe and healthful manner.”
- “A diver shall be line-tended from the surface, or accompanied by another diver in the water in continuous visual contact during the diving operations.”
- “A diver-carried reserve breathing gas supply shall be provided for each diver …”

4) failure to adhere to even a semblance of federal workplace safety requirements resulting in death may be grounds for the owner and any other persons in positions of authority to have criminal charges - we don’t know the cause of this death, but if it was not an unknown health condition of the diver, it could be manslaughter:

Minnesota Statutes 609.205 MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:
(1) by the person's culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another
 

SlugMug

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I think the employer foolish, however I don't know what his insurance policy or what the employment contract says.

As for training, some seem to equate lack of formal training with no training, which is not necessarily the case. In addition, there is no law that requires formal training for any type of diving.
I'm not a lawyer, but...

Criminal: The need to for an explicit law against something is about criminal liability, and the US constitution. Essentially the 4th through 9th amendment of the US constitution. The law doesn't have to specifically reference scuba or training, but rather describe an activity like manslaughter.

Civil law is a completely different animal. There are laws around civil-suits (usually limiting them), but civil can be described as "you can sue anyone about anything." Having a contract written favorably often helps, but contracts (or parts of contracts) are also often deemed unenforceable. Wrongful-injury is an entire industry by itself.

The basis for a suit here is probably not anything SCUBA specific, but rather workplace hazards in general, neglect, or simply leading another person into an activity which results in serious harm. An employer absolutely should know that SCUBA has hazards and needs training, whereas some random sap off the street might not know that SCUBA is more complicated than breathing from a mouthpiece underwater.

Regulations/Fines: If there was a specific law or regulation against this specific activity (hiring untrained scuba-divers), that would usually be about leveraging a fine against the business which the government collects. OSHA tends to regulate all employment regardless of context, and with a focus on safety and hazards. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some OSHA violation here, even if there isn't a specific regulation about SCUBA. (All that said, IMO, regulatory agencies shouldn't be writing laws, only enforcing ones explicitly passed, but that's another topic and get's political).
 

SlugMug

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1) It wouldn’t...
Fantastic response! I started skimming through the OSHA regulations and ... I'm apparently not in the mood to read the whole thing, hah.

Linking this to my other post above: 1 & 2 = who pays civil. 3 = Regulator/Fines. 4 = Criminal.
 
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DandyDon

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A scuba diver who went missing in Lake Minnetonka and was eventually found dead has been identified.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said 20-year-old Brady Alan Aune, from Elko New Market, died of freshwater drowning on June 3.

According to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the county water patrol team assisted in the search for Aune in Maxwell Bay, which is located on the north side of Lake Minnetonka near Orono.

The diver was reported missing around noon, with numerous agencies responding to the lake to search for Aune. While law enforcement used sonar equipment to search, a diver who was diving with Aune found him about 30 feet from his last known location.

"He was brought to shore where paramedics began life-saving measures. After extensive life-saving measures by paramedics, the adult male scuba diver was pronounced dead at the scene," the sheriff's office said.

Police are still investigating what went wrong during the fatal incident.
 

Barefoot_Lawyer

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I think this thread should be combined with the lake Minnetonka June 03 post. Both are about an incident that occurred on that day.

This is the victim that was working for the weed removal company.
 
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DandyDon

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I think this thread should be combined with the lake Minnetonka June 03 post. Both are about an incident that occurred on that day.

This is the victim that was working for the weed removal company.
Right, I missed that. I'll Report it.
 

Al Stevens

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so I had "friends"-non divers- who constantly picked on me for not having dived yet. they were like "if you wanna dive so bad, just go dive". didn't think any training was necessary.
I'll be sending them this link.
Oh man! At least get Open Water! Also, anyone who pressures someone to do a dive they are not comfortable with is no friend.
 

kaylee_ann

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Oh man! At least get Open Water! Also, anyone who pressures someone to do a dive they are not comfortable with is no friend.
Yeah they basically called me a pussy for not going diving when I wasn’t certified. Stupid crap. They’ll be the next recipients of the Darwin Award.
 

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