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July 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 48, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Nobody Gets Away Scot Free

diving death shuts down dive operator decades later

from the July, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Around 20 years ago, a certified diver died on a dive with Bahama Divers in Nassau Yacht Haven. The company's owner, Matthew Whiteland, told the Bahamas Tribune that the diver was with his friends and "it was a shallow dive to 25 feet or less. He signaled he was going back to the boat, never made it, and was later found dead."

The death resulted in an unusual case that has raised concern in many foreign dive operators. You see, it's almost impossible for an American to win a wrongful diving death suit in a foreign country. However, Bahama Divers had a sales office in the U.S., so the widow sued in a Florida court, and the court awarded her $9 million. In 2008, the plaintiff filed with the Bahamas Supreme Court to collect the money. Although Whiteland says he was advised that there was no way the judgment could be enforced and the money awarded in the Bahamas, a 12-year legal battle ensued. In early 2020, due to COVID, Bahama Divers closed for several months, furloughing its 15 employees. It reopened in early July 2020, and a few days later, bailiffs finally arrived at his door to collect, though the shop barely brought in $2 million per year....

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