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LMCS divers.

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Police investigators have submitted an interim report on the February 25 diving tragedy which left four LMCS divers dead and the country reeling with horror and shock.

In an interview on Monday, TTPS’s Public Affairs Officer Sheridon Hill told Guardian Media that immediately after the tragedy occurred, the TTPS appointed a team of investigators headed by Insp Morales from the Southern Division to probe the accident.

“I can confirm that an interim report has been submitted through the Senior Supt in charge of Southern Division. However, the investigations are ongoing. The police are pursuing the matter,” Hill assured.

He noted that anytime there is sudden and unexpected death, the police get involved.

“We have to ensure there is no foul play. Moreso, if there is an incident that is of national significance like this matter, we pay attention to it,” he added.

Asked whether any information has been submitted to the TTPS by the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), Hill said, “All I can say is that statements were recorded and an interim file was submitted.”

He noted: “As with all investigations we expect that this investigation will be done, not just speedily but in an efficient manner. We take all relevant factors into account. The police will look at all evidential issues and submit our report as promptly as they can in the circumstances.”

The OSHA says it too is conducting a probe and will submit evidence as needed to the police.

The scene of the accident has been shut down after OSHA issued prohibition notices. On Sunday political leader of the Movement for Social Justice, David Abdulah called on the OSHA to make its report public.

The four men- Fyzal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar, Yusuf Henry and Kazim Ali Jr, died inside the pipeline and their bodies were found days later. They were doing underwater maintenance works with another diver Christopher Boodram, inside a 30-inch diametre pipeline named No. 36 sealine at Berth No 6, when there was a sudden rush of water inside a hyperbaric chamber which caused them to be sucked into the line.

Boodram, the lone survivor told the Express that the job they were assigned to do entailed taking off a blank (a metal plate), taking out the first plug and then a second plug and putting down half a pipe on it, join a new piece of riser onto the old riser and bolt it down.

He said they had just removed two plugs when Ali Jr entered the chamber and the whole room just fill up with water and started to flood in an instant. They were then sucked into a vortex that hurtled him down the pipe.

The cause of the suction is still a matter of investigation.

 Boodram believes that Paria Fuel Trading should be held accountable for refusing to send divers to rescue his friends after he begged them to do so.

Commercial diving instructor Dr Glenn Cheddie has raised questions about why the divers were not equipped with proper commercial diving gear including a divers’ helmet which would provide a surface air supply. He also said LMCS should not send scuba divers to do the job of a commercial diver. He said the TT Bureau of Standards has to account for why the development of diving standards was scrapped four years ago but the TTBS says this process is ongoing.