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April 1998 Vol. 13, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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WWN Blames Crocodiles, Aussies File Suit

from the April, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The owners of Outer Edge, the Australian boat that left two American divers behind to die (see Undercurrent, April, 1998), will be charged in their disappearance. The divers weren’t discovered missing until 48 hours later when crew members found some of their gear still on board.

Industrial Relations Minister Santo Santoro told a news conference that prosecutors told him they could make a case against the dive boat company and its management. “The two parties will be prosecuted as soon as possible for alleged breaches of Queensland’s workplace health and safety legislation,” Santoro said. Queensland state law carries fines of up to $100,000 for a corporation and $21,000 or six months in jail for company officials.

The charges would send an important message that Australia takes its overseas visitors’ safety seriously, federal Tourism Minister Andrew Thomson said. “It’s really the first duty of a country to look to the health and safety of people who are so kind as to visit us,” Thomson said.

While there is still no trace of the remains of Thomas and Eileen Lonergan, a swim fin, a BC, a wetsuit hood, and a tank were later found washed ashore.

That led the tabloid Weekly World News to claim that “scores of crocodiles ate the pair alive,” but that comes from a rag that also carried a story about a Georgia family that was depressed because mail order firms are going out of business — the catalogue pages are their sole source of toilet paper, and now they’re “really in a fix.”

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