Widow wins damages after husband's shark cage diving death

Ruth Doherty
Widow wins damages against shark cage diving company
Widow wins damages against shark cage diving company




A US widow has been awarded R24 million (approx £1.3 million) in damages after her husband drowned on a shark cage diving trip in South Africa.

The diving boat capsized off the coast of Kleinbaai six years ago.

Sarah Tallman sued the vessel, Shark Team, the skipper, Grant Tuckett, and shark cage diving business White Shark Projects for negligence and loss of support after the incident on 13 April, 2008.

The Shark Team boat capsized after being hit by a wave near Gansbaai. Tallman's husband Chris was one of three people who died, along with his best friend, who was also best man at his wedding, Casey Lajeunesse, and Norwegian Kenneth Rogue.



According to iol.co.za, the court found Tuckett negligent in relation to the vessel capsizing. It was highlighted that he should have had a proper lookout to see ocean conditions changing, giving them a chance to head back to shore.

He also reportedly acted negligently after the vessel capsized, by not taking steps to determine whether all the passengers had been rescued. Tallman was only found to be missing an hour afterwards.

Speaking to 9News, Sarah said: "I think it was just assumed that we saw this company, they advertised on shark week, I think you kind of assume they're going to follow the laws and safety measures had been put in place because this is a commercial operation and takes hundreds of tourists from around the world every year. You kind of assume that safety and regulations are at the forefront of their business, where we're finding out now that just wasn't the case."

Sarah met Chris on a blind date in November 2002. They were married on their five-year anniversary, 15 November 2007, on the beach in Mexico.

Five months later, Chris died on his trip to South Africa.

After the ruling, Tallman told the Independent Online: "I am greatly relieved that the judge has ruled in our favour, and that my reasons for initiating this lawsuit appear to have been justified. I've gone through more than six years of severe emotional and financial distress dealing with this lawsuit and very lengthy trial... It has managed to overshadow the grief and loss that I've experienced losing my husband Chris so soon after our wedding.

"I know the only way that I'll ever get the real closure that I've desperately been seeking is for me to forgive them. I hope that they can finally admit that their actions were negligent, and that it is time to end this case so that we can all move on with the next chapter in our lives."






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