Lawsuit in 13-year-old boy’s death targets scuba diving company and a national diver’s organization

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A lawsuit has been filed by the family of 13-year-old Temuulin Tsogt. Tsogt drowned during a guided introductory scuba diving tour in January while he and his family were visiting from Mongolia.

The complaint claims that Tsogt drowned “as a result of being left unattended by his instructor during an introductory open water scuba dive.” The lawsuit names multiple defendants, and accuses each of gross negligence.

Records claim they failed to ensure the safety of Tsogt during the dive and details each of their roles in his drowning.

According to the suit, Tyler Brown was the PADI certified dive instructor responsible for Tsogt during the dive. Attorneys say Brown got separated from Tsogt and the three other divers Tsogt was paired with underwater and that Brown “improperly delayed” reporting that the boy was missing.

Hawaii Water Sports sold Tsogt’s parents the scuba diving package and assured them numerous times that he didn’t need any experience and would be supervised throughout the dive.

The complaint claims Sheila Jordan, captain of Dive Barge, which transported Tsogt, also failed to call emergency personnel in a timely manner when they realized Tsogt was missing.

The lawsuit also targets an introductory scuba diving program, called the Discover Scuba Diving Experience, which allows completely inexperienced children to scuba dive in the open ocean at depths up to 40 feet, with only a single instructor to provide direct supervision to four novice divers at the same time. The DSDE program is licensed by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

The lawsuit claims PADI is also liable for Tsogt’s death. They issue diving instructor certifications. Records claim that PADI recklessly decided not to require a pool-based introductory session to novices like Tsogt and “knowingly put profitability ahead of safety” for the sake of selling more scuba dive packages.

Tsogt’s body was found by lifeguards in approximately 50 feet of water in Maunalua Bay. He was transported to Queens Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

KHON is reaching out to the defendants for comment. We will update this story as we receive additional information

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