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Town sued for not having a Dive Rescue Team MUST READ!

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Town sued for not having a Dive Rescue Team MUST READ!

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:09 pm

More and more vehicles are finding their way into the water everyday.

It important to know that the general populous is holding rescue teams to a higher standard then ever before. Here is an article that shows the importance of being pro active and establishing dedicated first on capable dive rescue capability.

Woman settles rescue-workers suit for $870,000
Accident victim had claimed severe brain injuries


By M. MATTHEW CLARK , Published on 5/9/2008


Old Saybrook - Barbara Connors - the woman who sued the town and the rescue workers who, four years ago, pulled her from the Connecticut River - has reached an out-of-court settlement for $870,000.

New London attorney Robert Reardon, who represents Connors, said there would be no further comment other than a press release issued Thursday, a condition of a mutual agreement among all the parties of the lawsuit.

The family offered to settle for $1 million a year ago, but the town and other parties rejected the offer. James Williams, the town's attorney, declined to comment Thursday.

Connors was the passenger in a Ford Explorer being driven by her son-in-law, Alan Hauser, that crashed through a chain link fence at Saybrook Point into the Connecticut River on Oct. 14, 2004. The suit contended Connors suffered severe brain injuries from being underwater for nearly 30 minutes before police and firefighters eventually extricated her from the vehicle.

It was raining that day and visibility in the water was zero. Hauser told police at the time that while he was trying to park the Explorer, the truck“surged forward” and when he went to hit the brake his foot slipped and punched the accelerator instead, sending the heavy vehicle airborne into the 60-degree waters.

When the then-75-year-old woman was finally pulled from the water, she had no pulse. As she was rushed to Essex Shoreline Medical Center, emergency workers resuscitated Connors before Life Star helicopter flew her to Yale-New Haven Hospital where she stayed on life support for three days until she started breathing on her own.

In the weeks following the accident, the town's police and fire departments were praised for their heroic efforts in saving Connors' life. Fifty people gathered at Saybrook Point two weeks after the accident to honor the emergency crews in a formal awards ceremony.

But eight months later, Connors and her family had filed suit against the town, First Selectman Michael Pace, police Chief Edmund Mosca, and even Hauser. In previous news stories, Reardon said it was common for family members in auto accidents to sue each other in order to collect insurance.

Pace said Thursday he could not comment for this story.

The suit contended that the accident never would have happened had the town installed concrete barriers at Saybrook Point, a 2.3-acre waterfront park that underwent improvements in 2000. Court papers also alleged that police and fire didn't act fast enough in their rescue, claiming that Connors wouldn't have been underwater so long if the town had its own dive team.

The architect and engineer that redesigned the park were eventually added to the suit.

Karen Hauser of Old Lyme, Connors' daughter, led the lawsuit, because her mother now lives in a nursing home in Waterford where she suffers from dementia, which the family said was caused by the accident.


Last edited by Admin on Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Thoughts to consider about having a dive rescue team

Post by Rapid Diver on Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:28 am

Since I started actively working with PSD professionals in 15 years ago, the trend that I have seen within the PSD community is to have an equal focus on Rescue operations as well as the more common recovery operations.

Cell phones have become a blessing and a curse to PSD professionals. More distracted drivers on the road resulting in more accidents, and more accidents being reported as they occur. This leaves the window open for a more immediate response and the potential for a successful rescue.

Because of this, my personal thought is that every department with water in it's jurisdiction should have a rapid rescue dive team. Ultimately, the best case scenario would be that every first responder would have a rapid rescue capability. The drowning statistics are only going to go up, and I feel that the local communities that you serve will want to ensure a rapid dive rescue capability to

1. Save lives
2. Defray any possible law suits (like the article above) that could come out of not employing the rapid dive rescue capability.

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