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Fiji Time: 9:17 AM on Monday 21 April

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Death prompts dive probe

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

THE Fisheries Department will investigate the death of a 22-year-old man who died while diving in waters off Bua two weeks ago.

North divisional fisheries officer Joji Vakawaletabua confirmed the inquiry would look into the company that employed the man at the time of the incident near Yaqaga Island.

Mr Vakawaletabua said they would proceed with the inquiry once they received police and medical reports. The incident prompted a review of the operations of dive companies in the division.

He reiterated that diving licence would be revoked if companies fail to adhere to their conditions.

The Fisheries Department in partnership with other government departments up North will also conduct spot checks of dive companies to ensure they comply with Occupational Health and Safety rules.

"Operators are warned to be mindful of their divers' safety in ensuring that all proper diving apparatus are available to divers before they send them out," he said. "Operators are also responsible for overseeing that their divers are physically able and prepared to dive within their diving ranges as stipulated under the condition of their licences. It has come to our attention that some companies have gone to the limit of abusing their labourers to dive the extra distance just to get what they want."

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri confirmed a post mortem examination had been carried out on the deceased.

"The coroners have established the cause of death as death by drowning," he said.