The family of Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and conservationist, Rob Stewart, is said to be filing a wrongful death suit following the death of the famous Sharkwater ad Revolution director. On January 31st, Stewart boarded a dive boat docked at Caloosa Cove Marina on the isle of Islamorada, just south of Key Largo. The reason for the dive was to shoot footage for Stewart’s next project, a documentary called Sharkwater Extinction, the sequel to his 2007 award-winning film, Sharkwater. His dive looking for an elusive sawfish turned fatal. Stewart was found by Key Largo Fire and Rescue just 300 feet from his last known position, on the bottom of the ocean floor. Hiring a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer will help the family get compensation for expenses due to the death.
Stewarts family is beyond devastated regarding their loss. The family, who has hired The Haggard Law Firm of Coral Gables, is said to be planning on filing a wrongful death suit against many parties including Peter Sotis, a well-known figure in the rebreathing deep-sea diving community. Sotis was with Stewart when they resurfaced after a 225-feet deep dive on January 31st at the Queen of Nassau wreck site. They divers were using rebreather equipment from Add Helium, a company of Sotis, during the dives.
Not only are they including Sotis, but also his company, Add Helium is also expected to be named in the suit. “When you learn more about these defendants and the history of negligent behavior by people like Mr. Sotis, you come to realize this was a preventable tragedy that was going to happen to someone,” Michael Haggard, of the Haggard Law Firm, said in a statement issued Monday. A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning by Haggard at his Coral Gables office for 10:45 a.m., in which he is expected to detail the lawsuit and name others being sued. “The Stewart family hopes the legal action will push out and/or change the ways of all irresponsibly operating diving businesses and help keep attention on Stewart’s mission of ocean conservation,” Haggard’s law firm stated.
Sotis is no rookie to the courtroom. Mr. Sotis was one of the four defendants to plead guilty in a $300,000 jewelry heist in Ft. Myers in 1991. This conviction led to Sotis serving nearly three years in federal prison, according to press reports from the time. Sotis has been accused of other shady tactics including a lawsuit that was filed by his former business partner in which he’s accused, among other things, of selling military-grade scuba gear to a Libyan militant last August, and selling non-certified compressed air tanks to the company’s customers.
The men were using rebreathers which are known to be risky but allow for longer dives due to the divers being able to use his or her own air that is recirculated and scrubbed of carbon dioxide. This might be okay for one dive but three dives in one day is certainly pushing it. This would be risky for even the most experienced diver.