“We have charged two of the diving instructors present when the incident occurred with negligence,” Lt Kanakorn Tamakhan of Phi Phi Island police told The Phuket News today (Jan 4).
“Mr Shukla had not taken off his diving weights, which weighed about 4 kilograms, when the incident took place. However, we can confirm that he had taken off his equipment,” he said.
“A large wave caused the boat to rock, this caused Mr Shukla to fall into the water and drown due to the weights. Although those who saw him fall jumped into the water after him, the water was very deep and it took a while to find him,” he explained.
“The hospital has already conducted a preliminary examination of the body, however, we are still waiting for results an internal examination to confirm that he died of drowning. That is where the case is currently at,” he said.
Lt Kanakorn declined to name the two instructors charged.
“I am not at the station, please call me back later. I am in the middle of something now,” he said.
Georg Kereit, manager of the dive company involved, which he asked not to be named, told The Phuket News, “We would like to express our deepest condolences to family and friends of Mr Shukla, and I can confirm that we are working close with police to manage this terrible accident.
“When the incident occurred the customer had returned to the boat and taken off his equipment. He was about to take off the weight belt when he fell overboard. Three people jumped in after him but could not locate him on the choppy surface, so the three people went with scuba gear to find him,” said Mr Kereit.
“CPR was provided immediately the body had been removed from the water and put on the boat, he was then given oxygen before being handed over to the hospital,” he added.
“It is standard practice in scuba diving that when you get out of the water you go to a spot where your can sit down and your scuba cylinder will be secure.
“You then loosen shoulder and waist straps and get out of the unit. The next step is to stand up and remove your weight belt. After that you can get out of your wet suit,” he said.
“So procedure wise, it was normal. It was in this impossible five second window while removing his weight belt that he fell,” he added.
In response to whether any regulations would be amended following the incident, Mr Kereit said, “We need to see with the owner if further railings will be installed to limit the possible exits, and non-certified divers will probably not be allowed to sit on the outside facing side of the boat.”