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Koh Tao’s Scuba Junction Diving Co says “fax problems” caused their student, Silje Mathisen to lose 1 MILLION baht accidental death insurance – Allegation from friend’s father
By Ian Yarwood (Australian lawyer)
There’s been yet another sad revelation concerning the tragic scuba accident that claimed the life of 22 year old Norwegian girl, Silje Fauskerud Mathisen. Her friend’s father, Tore Simensen claims that she paid for a one million baht accidental death insurance policy via Scuba Junction Diving Co but that it could not be claimed against because Scuba Junction failed to send a list of divers to their insurer.
On 22 December 2014 Silje Mathisen was struck and killed by the propeller of a dive boat driven by Nathakorn Meekwan of Pura Vida Diving in shallow waters at Tao Tong (“Gold Turtle”) off the island of Koh Tao.
Afterwards, both the Thai captain and Ricky Collins, Silje’s diving instructor were charged with negligence. In addition, following an investigation by PADI, Mr Collins’ PADI membership was cancelled.
On Tuesday, 13 February 2018 Khun Nathakorn pleaded guilty in the Samui Provincial Court but his co-accused, Mr Collins left Thailand in 2016 and is yet to face trial. See Samui Times story from 19 February 2018:
Silje and her lifelong friend, Sigrid Simensen travelled together to Tao Tong on the Scuba Junction dive boat called the “Manta Ray.” Sigrid’s father, Tore Simensen went with them on the Manta Ray but he took part in a more advanced dive.
There were five people on Silje’s dive. They were Ricky Collins (divemaster), Silje and Sigrid (first time divers) and Philippe Coallier and Kathleen Shannon (who both had about 20 dives and were not divemaster trainees, contrary to some reports).
Approximately seven minutes into the dive, the Pura Vida boat came towards them. Four of the five divers managed to escape but Silje was caught in the jet stream of the boat’s propeller and received fatal injuries. This occurred about 75 – 100 metres from the Manta Ray according to Philippe and Kathleen.
No insurance because Scuba Junction failed to send list to insurer
On 21 December 2014, Silje, Sigrid and Tore paid Scuba Junction for their dives, which Tore insists always includes accidental death insurance of 1 million baht.
Tore also says that their names were entered on a list of divers which Scuba Junction was to send to its insurers so that the divers would all be covered in case of death.
Tore says that when he first approached the manager, Natalie Alderton about the insurance she told him that the insurance was paid. He says they also exchanged several messages during which Ms Alderton had different stories about the insurance.
However, as Tore explained, when lawyers for Silje’s parents went to Koh Tao in May/June 2015 it eventually came to light that Ms Alderton and Scuba Junction never sent the list of divers to the insurance company (The Viriyan). He added that Ms Alderton blamed a facsimile machine which she said was not working.
Silje’s parents, Bjorn Ole Mathisen and Lena Fauskerud have confirmed that they have not received any insurance payments arising from her death. Instead, they have incurred legal bills in trying to get some justice for Silje.
No comment from Natalie Alderton, Manager of Scuba Junction
Ms Alderton has been given an opportunity to comment on the matter of the life insurance but at the time of writing this article, no reply had been received to the email message sent to her on 19 February 2018.
A copy of the message is reproduced below:
Ms Natalie Alderton
Scuba Junction Diving Co Ltd
BY EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ms Alderton
FATAL ACCIDENT DURING DIVE ON 22/12/2014
DIVEMASTER: RICKY COLLINS OF SCUBA JUNCTION
I advise that I am in the process of writing a number of articles about the accident that claimed the life of Silje Mathisen during a Discover Scuba Diving course with Scuba Junction on 22 December 2014.
I am not a journalist but a few of my articles have already been published in the Samui Times online news service and on social media.
I would be obliged if you could answer some questions for me which will also give you the opportunity to put forward your side of the story.
Naturally, you are not obliged to answer any of the following questions. I note that the Dagbladet newspaper of Norway has stated that Scuba Junction has declined to comment on the accident. However, should you decline to comment I will probably simply refer to what various witnesses have said while pointing out to readers that you declined to comment.
I advise that I shall wait at least 24 hours before having any further articles published.
I hope to hear from you soon.