Investigation Reveals Why Dive Instructor Drowned

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by on August 22, 2005 at 15:43:42:

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

Police: Donathan Ignored Basic Safety Procedures

SAN DIEGO -- A veteran San Diego scuba diver who drowned three months ago while exploring a sunken ship off of Mission Beach ignored standard safety practices, according to a published report.

An investigation by San Diego police and lifeguard divers concluded that Steven Donathan did not mark his route with a guideline and left his diving partner to explore a part of the Yukon that had previously been off limits to divers. Donathan, 49, of Ocean Beach, never surfaced from the dive.

The 20-page death investigation report concluded that Donathan died on June 25 inside the former Canadian warship "as the result of a diving accident for which he was solely responsible," according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Donathan was the first diver to die in the Yukon since it was sunk in 105 feet of water off Mission Beach five years ago, the Union-Tribune reported.

Investigators concluded that Donathan lost his bearings when his movements stirred up silt inside the boiler room. His primary light flooded, making it even harder for him to find an exit, the newspaper reported.

Lt. Nick Lerman, dive team leader for the San Diego Lifeguard Service, told the newspaper that the report indicated that Donathan was "overconfident" and put himself in danger unnecessarily.

Donathan was training a student during the dive that killed him. The student surfaced when he became separated from Donathan.

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