Re: LA Times Article

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Posted by on January 28, 2005 at 21:32:47:

In Reply to: LA Times Article posted by on January 28, 2005 at 04:23:01:

A scuba diver abandoned for four hours 12 miles off Newport Beach until being rescued by Scouts has sued the dive operators and the charter boat company he says were responsible.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Dan Carlock, 46, demanded $4 million in damages for the "substantial losses including anguish and shock, embarrassment, humiliation" and skin cancer he says resulted from sun exposure in the April incident.

"He's very concerned about having an impact on the industry so that this never happens again," said Scott P. Koepke, Carlock's lawyer.

"He's a very spiritual guy and couldn't live with himself if, years from now, this happened again and somebody died," Koepke said.

Representatives of Sun Diver Charters LLC, the Huntington Beach-based operator of the boat that Carlock says abandoned him, could not be reached for comment.

Stephen Ladd, president of Ocean Adventures Dive Co., which organized the dive, was out of the country diving, people at the firm said.

Zacarias Reyes Araneta, a company staffer named in the lawsuit as one of the dive masters aboard the boat, declined to discuss the incident.

According to the lawsuit, Carlock, of Santa Monica, boarded the Sundiver, a boat based in Long Beach, on April 25 for a one-day diving excursion with more than 20 others.

During the first dive, next to an oil rig, it says, he became separated from his diving partner.

Instead of reporting him missing and starting a search, the crew and dive staff proceeded to the next dive site several miles away and, only then, notified the Coast Guard, giving them the wrong location.

Carlock remained in the water about four hours until being rescued by a passing group of Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts.

"He was exposed to the elements, including cold water, intensified ultraviolet radiation reflected by the water, and being left to drift aimlessly alone," the lawsuit contends, adding that one result was skin cancer that has been removed.

The Coast Guard charged Sun Diver's owner with negligence, and he voluntarily surrendered his license.

Ocean Adventures issued a statement at the time saying that two members of its staff had been suspended from dive master responsibilities and the company was "taking this very seriously" and "working closely with the Coast Guard, our dive masters and other members of the dive community" in closely examining safety procedures "to prevent an incident like this from happening again."

And what of Carlock?

He suffered for four hours and "hasn't been in the water since" the incident, Koepke said.

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