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Paspaley pearl diver Jarrod Hampton's family seeking answers as inquest into death set down for May
The family of a Victorian pearl diver who died off WA's north-west coast has welcomed the scheduling of an inquest five years on, saying lives continued to be put at risk by alleged dubious safety practices. Jarrod Hampton was working as a drift diver for the Paspaley Pearling Company in April 2012 when he got into trouble in the water off Eighty Mile Beach. By the time he was pulled aboard his boat, its crew was unable to revive him. A 10-day coronial inquest has now been set down to run in Perth in May, with Mr Hampton's parents Robyn and Tony and their two other sons planning to travel from their home in Victoria to attend. Ms Hampton welcomed the announcement of the inquest and said she felt "very optimistic". "We've waited many years to get that news. There was a time we thought we weren't going to get an inquest," she said. "We will learn what they did do and what they perhaps should have done, and what maybe should have been in place." Ms Hampton said the doubt surrounding just how her son died had added to the family's distress. "We only live with the memories of him, and we miss him, and the dynamics of our family have changed forever ... we're overwhelmed by his loss," she said.
Family criticises 'archaic' regulations
In the wake of the death, safety watchdog WorkSafe charged Paspaley with failing to provide a safe work environment, to which the company pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000. The Broome District Court heard it took the Paspaley crew between five and 10 minutes to bring Mr Hampton onto a boat, at which time efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. However, no charge was ever laid relation to Mr Hampton's death, and there has been no suggestion the company was responsible. The Hampton family has been scathing of the relatively loose regulation of the pearling industry and the lack of change in the wake of their son's death. "There's been no significant improvements, nothing done that would protect someone's life," Ms Hampton said. Pearl diving is regulated under the general diving regulations rather than commercial diving regulations, and Ms Hampton said the inquest would provide an opportunity to have that reviewed. "All the pearl divers must get a commercial fishing licence, so the WA state does see their job as commercial fishing, and yet they've managed to maintain a very archaic diving regulation, the general diving regulations."
Review underway but progress unclear
Both Paspaley and the WA Pearl Producers Association have defended the industry's safety record, pointing out that deaths are very rare and saying improvements had been made in recent years. The State Government said in the wake of Mr Hampton's death that it would review safety regulations, but it appears there has been little progress. A working group was formed by WorkSafe after court proceedings finished in 2015 to assess what industry changes were needed. The ABC understands the group has met several times, and is looking at whether the existing non-enforceable industry code of practice needs to be upgraded to a commission code. Diving guidelines are also being reviewed nationally, a process Worksafe has said could have implications for the training requirements in WA's pearling industry. The WA Pearl Producers Association and WorkSafe have been contacted for comment.
Feb 22 2017
Taken from: http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/nova-scotia/luke-seabrook-diving-death-accident-tidal-power-plant-1.3678009
No closure for family of diver killed at Nova Scotia tidal plant a year ago Luke Seabrook's family on mission to prevent divers from dying on the job
The family of a Dartmouth man killed on the job at Nova Scotia Power's Annapolis Tidal Power Plant a year ago is still seeking answers about how and why his death happened.
Commercial diver Luke Seabrook, 39, died last July 15 while inspecting the dam's underwater gates. The generating station is located where the powerful Bay of Fundy tides meet the Annapolis River in Annapolis Royal.
"He didn't have a hope in hell, nobody would," said Angela Seabrook, Luke's mother, as she stared at the rushing water pouring out of the dam.
The Wasaga Beach, Ont., woman travelled to Nova Scotia to see the plant for herself on the eve of the anniversary.
'I need to know'
"I have to find out what happened and why it happened before I can forgive," she said. "There might not be anybody to blame for this. It could just be an accident, but I need to know."
His family has received details from Jarvis DesRoche, the backup diver, who along with the diver supervisor, were providing support from the shore. Luke Seabrook was carrying out the annual inspection of the gate as part of Paul's Diving Service Inc. It was a job he'd done before.
Within a minute or two of going underwater, Seabrook signalled to come up. His support team couldn't pull him up but the line wouldn't budge, so they tied off his line in hopes he wouldn't be dragged farther away.
"If Jarvis had gone down, there would be two of them dead," Angela Seabrook said.
DesRoche had to wait about an hour for the tides on both sides of the dam gate to equalize before he could retrieve his friend's body.
Seabrook says her son was found stuck in the gate, which wasn't fully closed, as it should have been. His helmet was wedged in the gap.
The opening allowed the force of the world's highest tides to surge through. The differential pressure on either side of the gate creates a powerful suction. That pressure can be in the tonnes.
In the diving world, that hazard is called Delta P, and it's one of the leading causes of death for occupational divers.
'I hope he didn't suffer'
Luke Seabrook was found with broken ribs and contusions to his head. His suit was ripped, his mouthpiece was loose.
"I don't know whether he died because his lungs were crushed or he drowned," Angela Seabrook said. She's still waiting for the autopsy report's official cause of death. "All I know is I hope he didn't suffer."
For the last year, the provincial department of Labour has been investigating the workplace fatality. It typically takes two years before findings are released and charges, if warranted, are laid.
Seabrook's fear is that another diver could die on the job in the meantime.
Department denies CBC request
CBC News has asked to see the department's stop-work and compliance orders slapped on Nova Scotia Power and Paul's Diving Service Inc. Those requests have been denied, and that decision is waiting to be reviewed.
Rejecting a request for labour department orders is unusual. In previous cases, the department has provided the information to CBC News.
Nova Scotia Power has declined an interview. And the dive support team members have not responded to an interview request.
'Things haven't changed'
Seabrook has enlisted the help of diving expert Stephen Donovan in her quest for answers. In the '90s, Donovan was a member of the working group that drafted Nova Scotia's diving regulations. He says he walked away from the group because it was split with infighting among different diving groups that had competing interests. The end result, he says, was watered-down regulations.
"Things haven't changed from when I was diving in the Bay of Fundy in the middle of the '70s," said Donovan. "Yes, we have better equipment but we still are losing people."
Donovan finds it deeply troubling that Luke Seabrook was likely killed because of a danger that is nothing new – differential pressure at a dam.
He says he believes Seabrook's death was preventable. It's high time, he says, for the diving community to make safety a priority.
"Very frustrating that changes haven't been made that I think should've been made."
'We feel forgotten'
The wait for information has been agonizing for Seabrook's widow, Sheryl. They were newlyweds when Luke was killed.
His last text was haunting and sweet.
"Going to work with the changing tides. I love you, I'll talk to you soon," she recalled.
The 36-year-old has tried to go back to work, but she's been unsuccessful.
Diving was a passion she shared with her husband, but now she can't go back in the water.
On this first anniversary of Seabrook's death, she plans to go to the plant for the first time where she'll spend time in quiet meditation.
She'll find a wreath attached to a chain link fence surrounding the dam. It's the only hint of the tragedy.
But there will be no closure.
"I think that's something that can only come after the full investigation is disclosed to us, if and when," she said.
"We feel forgotten."
If Mrs. Rupping has engaged Delise - or any other attorney - she has a good chance of getting her answers. The timing will be a negative aspect, I'm sure, although she has had SOME monies sent to her. I smell a rat when the Supervisor says it was his personal money he sent. This sounds very much like Mammoet is trying to insert a layer of plausible denial into the situation...