Diver killed after becoming trapped between the propellors of a boat at a salmon site

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Exhausting day and night search by police before body of diver is recovered.

The lifeless body of diver Cristián González was recovered from a salmon site in Chile last week, after a gruelling search by the local Special Police Operations Group.

The body was transferred to a vessel owner by the Maritime Authority and then to Puerto Cisnes for forensic examination, to determine the cause of death and to rule out the possible involvement of third parties in the incident.

PHOTO: Chilean Maritime Authority

According to police statements, the work was carried out near the surface, under the hull of a boat at the Krauss site, in an area approximately 95 meters deep, and some 20 minutes by boat from Puerto Cisnes in Aysén Province.

Puerto Cisnes, Chile. MAP: Google

Trapped
The proceedings were carried out in coordination with the Prosecutor’s Office and involved day and night diving. It is understood that the circumstances in which the accident occurred are regarded as ‘complex’. It is thought González was killed after becoming trapped between the propellers of a boat, reports local news service Mundo Acuicola.

Following the incident on 15 December, the Prosecutor’s Office requested the presence of the specialised Carabineros team in order to gather background information.

Captain Claudio Troncoso Contreras, head of Police Special Operations Group (GOPE) Aysén testified, “A regrettable event occurred with the death of this diver. GOPE divers worked throughout the night work and again resumed activity the next day with daylight. At approximately 07:00 hours, the tasks were resumed in order to recover the body through professional autonomous diving.”

Abandoned
Claudio Faúndez, president of the National Union Divers of Chile, claimed that latest incident shows the abandonment of Chilean diving by the authorities.

Claudio Faúndez, president of the National Union Divers of Chile

“Today, when a part of Chile celebrates the results of the presidential elections, for a family there is no comfort, there is no triumph. The father, the provider, the husband were lost. The neighbor was lost, a Chilean diver was lost.”

“We as Chilean divers have always been abandoned. From the scuba diver, through the boom in the extraction of sea urchin that was brought from Guaitecas – When Quellón was the most important port for this resource – to now, in the salmon industry, where there has been the greatest mortality of divers.”

Speaking previously, following a series of incidents that left 15 divers dead in 2019, Faúndez said, “Companies in Norway use high quality standards, because the State demands it, whereas in Chile divers do not exist in the Labour Code, the Mutual Law does not represent us, we do not have a Benthic Law, we do not have a Ministry of the Sea.”

“The salmon industry takes advantage of these legal loopholes and hires the most impoverished and the cheapest services. In Chile, in several cases salmon is produced at the expense of the safety and health of divers.