Diver left adrift sues boat crew that left him off Catalina

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Posted by {skin cancer?} on January 27, 2005 at 19:12:00:

In Reply to: Drifting Dan sues shop, Captain Ray, and boat for $4,000,000 posted by Chris on January 27, 2005 at 17:41:32:

LOS ANGELES (AP) A diver who drifted for hours after a boat crew left him at sea filed a $4 million suit Thursday against the diving company and its employees, accusing them of negligence, inflicting emotional distress and fraud.

Daniel Carlock Jr. alleges that Ocean Adventures Dive Co. left him in the water off Santa Catalina Island last spring after he was separated from his diving buddy, then lied about his location, risking his life and delaying his rescue for five hours.

Carlock, 46, was eventually rescued by a group of Boy Scouts who happened to be boating in the area and spotted him.

He developed skin cancer as a result of extended exposure to the sun that day, according to the suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He maintains he continues to suffer trauma from the incident and is seeking punitive damages.

Stephen Ladd, president of Ocean Adventures, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday. Other divers named in the suit said they had not yet seen it and could not comment.

A certified diver, Carlock was exploring an abandoned oil rig with a group from Ocean Adventures on April 25, 2004, when he became separated from his diving buddy. He said he swam to the surface and tried to get the attention of the boat's crew, but the vessel left for its next dive site, several miles away, without him.

Carlock alleges his diving buddy, Andy C. Huber, a master scuba diver who was a trainer and employee of Ocean Adventures, did not immediately report him missing. The suit also states that Huber, another Ocean Adventures divemaster, Zacarias Reyes Araneta, and the boat's captain, Ray Leslie Arntz, ``participated in falsely advising the Coast Guard'' that Carlock had made it to the second dive and failed to surface there.

As a result, the Coast Guard and other rescuers wasted time searching ``for Carlock at a site he never was at,'' according to his suit, while ``Carlock was left to drift at sea abandoned.''

The men made the false statements to ``cover up and wrongfully justify the actions of Ocean Adventures,'' according to the suit.

Carlock's attorney, Scott P. Koepke, said his client hoped the suit would ensure that no other Southern California divers go through what he suffered.

``He thought about it a lot and realized he could not live with himself if two or three years from now somebody floats up dead from the same situation, and he did nothing about it,'' Koepke said.

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