Diver Death Investigation

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Posted by on August 22, 2005 at 15:41:18:

In Reply to: Diver Who Drowned Ignored Basic Safety Procedures posted by on August 22, 2005 at 15:22:11:

An investigation has concluded that a veteran San Diego scuba diver who drowned this summer while exploring a sunken ship did not follow basic safety procedures, it was reported Monday. Scuba instructor Steven Donathan, 49, of Ocean Beach, put himself in jeopardy on June 25 when he did not mark his route with a guide line and abandoned his diving partner to enter the ship's boiler room, a previously sealed compartment off-limits to divers.

The breaches of safety protocol are explained in a 20-page death investigation report prepared by San Diego police with assistance from lifeguard divers, according to the newspaper.

The report concluded that Donathan died inside the Yukon, a former Canadian warship lying in 105 feet of water off Mission Beach, "as the result of a diving accident for which he was solely responsible."

Donathan's death was the first to occur inside the Yukon, the site of more than 10,000 dives since it became an underwater attraction five years ago. Investigators believe Donathan became disoriented after his movements inside the silt-filled boiler room created zero-visibility conditions. His ability to find an exit was further hampered by the failure of his primary light, which had flooded.

Lt. Nick Lerman, dive team leader for the San Diego Lifeguard Service, said a review of the report leads him to conclude that Donathan was "overconfident" and put himself in danger unnecessarily.

Donathan was training a student during the dive that killed him.

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