Two more dead in less than 48 hours

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“When a diver asks for higher safety standards, he is fired or simply has to bow his head.”

On Sunday, 9 January, the National Union Divers of Chile reported the death of diver Edgar Mansilla – originally from Aysén – while carrying out cleaning tasks at a farm site belonging to Salmones Camanchaca in Hualaihué, Los Lagos Region.

“Our colleague was cleaning nets with a hydro-washer when suddenly the air filter in the tank burst, leaving him trapped and unable to return to the surface,” Claudio Faundez, president of the National Union of Divers of Chile, told Mundo Acuícola.

“I don’t understand why the salmon industry works on the cheap. When a diver asks for higher safety standards, he is fired or simply has to bow his head,” Faundez continued.

Less than 48 hours later, Salmon Chile confirmed the death of the second diver. On Monday, January 52 year-old diver José Ruiz was killed while working at Salmones Antactica site in the Aysén Fjord.

These latest fatalities add to the growing death toll in the industry. Last week, SalmonBusiness reported that 14 workers and divers were killed in the Chilean salmon industry during 2021. Of these, the last occurred just three weeks ago, when diver Cristián González died after becoming trapped between the propellers of a boat.

Read more: The butcher’s bill: death a month average for Chile’s Wild West-style aquaculture industry

“As a National Union Divers of Chile we are very frustrated, and that is why we are not going to wait for television to come south to show this situation. We have decided that in the coming weeks we will go to Santiago to show the state of catastrophe in which diving is in Chile,” Faundez said.

Territorial director of SalmonChile, Tomás Monge, said in a press release: “More efforts must be redoubled to improve the conditions and execution of this activity, promoting control in the various operations, improvement in the standards of suppliers and services, constant training and self-care.”