Tom And Eileen Lonergan
June 30, 2011 by Post Team
Divers Alert Network Asia Pacific chief executive John Lippmann says the law was brought up after divers Tom and Eileen Lonergan Americans were abandoned in the waters of Port Douglas on January 25, 1998.
An investigation into his death found that most likely drowned or were taken by sharks, and the coroner recommended changes in the way operators have their passengers.
Passions of Paradise boat left the reef without snorkeller Ian Cole after a staff member of the staff spoiled, but the American was able to swim to a nearby vessel.
Mr. Lippmann, whose company investigates a series of issues such as diving deaths, said although the incident had doubts about any system – including electronic surveillance of passengers – would be perfect.
“Because of the Lonergans, everything was reworked in Queensland and … I think the operators of Queensland, in general, acts reasonably well,” he said.
“None of these systems are perfect, even if there were electronic devices have some problems sometimes.
“There’s always a little margin for error, and it was a mistake which fortunately did not result in a disaster.”
Under Queensland legislation brought after the disappearance of the Lonergans, operators must ensure that passengers check their return Reef Water personnel to sign the record of diving safety.
The employee responsible for the registration on Saturday has been fired for failing to obtain the signature of Jean de Cole.
Mr Lippmann said the Cairns Reef operators had an excellent reputation, but questioned the passions of Paradise necessary to put a second system to ensure the accuracy of the number of passengers before leaving.
Mr. Cole has questioned the effectiveness of the counting procedure.
Occupational Health and Safety Queensland is investigating the incident.
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