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You might remember the story of recreational diving student Linnea Mills, who drowned in 2019 during an ice/altitude training dive in Lake McDonald, in the Glacier National Park. The case at the time sent shockwaves through the industry, as it was a perfect example of gross negligence by the PADI Instructor, and the affiliated diving center.
To refresh your memory: A dive student, with a new second hand drysuit, 22 Kg of weights and without an inflator hose! On her first ever cold water / altitude dive. A negligent, zero to hero PADI instructor, without real cold water/drysuit qualifications...
The result: a massive suit squeeze, resulting in drowning.
The coroner untrained in dive accidents combined with a false testimony, ruled accidental death. So no criminal charges were pursued.
Linnea's family, and 2 divers who participated are now pursuing PADI, the instructor and the facility in a legal lawsuit of 12 million dollars.
Old skool industry professionals including myself, have said it over and over again, standards in the industry have dropped to an all time low. The quality of 'professional' Instructors trained since 1995, has consistently dropped, with every change in S&P's made to increase the creation of said instructors. Which are in the eyes of corporations like PADI, besides certifications, their bread and butter.
While PADI's quality assurance department is one of the better ones out there, it still is just a business enforcing rules on its customers. The larger the customer, the lower the sanctions (if any) will be.
Will a lawsuit of 12 Million dollars, be enough to hurt a corporate giant like PADI, or better yet re-orient pro diver training to produce quality professional divers?
The Zero to Hero instructor programs must stop, they reflect badly on true career professionals.
Please consider donating, to the Linnea Foundation: https://givebutter.com/linnea
More details on this case in the videos below.
"In October of 2020 Linnea Mills was interested in getting her Advanced Open Water certification in her hometown of Missoula Montana. Little did she know she was putting her trust into those she shouldn't have as the dive shop she chose not only had a history of negligence but they were in over their head by even offering these courses."
"On Nov of 2020, and 18-year-old Linnea Rose Mills dive on a freshwater dive at Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana. A $12M filed by the family alleges that the Gull Dive Center was negligent in not providing Linnea with proper dry suit instruction, and inflator hose, proper briefing, and supervision, and she was fatally overweighed with non-ditchable weight. The suit alleges that the end result was that Linnea was fatally squeezed at depth and unable to breathe nor return to the surface due to suit restrictions and being overweight beyond the capacity of the BC. The legal filing and other news reports also allege that there are other questions regarding the instructor's ability to teach drysuit, lack of emergency procedures, and the PADI teaching status of the Gull dive center. PADI is also named in the lawsuit."
A lawsuit has been raised against a Dive Centre, it's Owners, Instructors and Training Agency after details of a Student's death. Linnea Mills died during a training dive in cold water and there are reports of incorrect equipment, poor procedures and Instructor qualifications.