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Boy Scouts denies responsibility in Utah drowning death

Published September 11, 2012 10:40 am

Courts • Boy Scouts file cross claim against scuba company.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Boy Scouts of America and the Bear Lake Boy Scout Aquatic Camp deny any culpability in the death of a 12-year-old Nevada boy during an outing at the lake last summer in a newly filed document in U.S. District Court.

In the filing, the youth organization denies David Christopher Tuvell was participating in a Boy Scout program and instead claim the program was offered through the Professional Association of Dive Instructors and Blue Water Scuba. The Boy Scouts filed a cross claim against those two organizations, as well as Lowell Huber, who owned Blue Water, and Corbett Douglas, a dive instructor, saying they are primarily liable in the event the boy's parents prevail in their lawsuit.

Christopher and Sherry Tuvell of Las Vegas filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the national organization this summer. Their son David was diving with another Scout, a Scoutmaster and a diving instructor on the east side of the lake on July 13, 2011. The Scoutmaster and instructor surfaced, leaving the two boys holding a guide line on the bottom of the lake that led back to shore. When the instructor dove again, the boys apparently had lost hold of the line and were nowhere in sight.

One boy was found and quickly brought to shore. It took searchers another 30 minutes to find David, who was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The Tuvells allege in their complaint that the defendants failed to ensure their son was properly equipped, dressed and weighted and that he was given defective equipment. When an emergency arose, the defendants failed to provide proper aid, they claim.

In its response, the Boy Scouts denied any involvement or duty with respect to "preparing and implementing" a dive plan or to "oversee, monitor, manage or supervise" the dive or provide equipment.

Brooke Adams