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Experienced diver said company ‘pushed the boundaries’

An experienced diver rejected a $100,000 payday for one month’s work because he “didn’t have any trust” in the company’s management ahead of Australia’s deepest commercial dive.

Mark Veal told a court Perth-based DOF Subsea Australia “liked to push the boundaries of safety”.

Mr Veal said he was doing air diving work for DOF ahead of the 2017 deep saturation dive to 270m off the north coast of WA. A position on the saturation team became available and was offered to him by Michael Paton, who was in charge.

The 50-year-old said alarm bells went off in his mind when Mr Paton sought his advice “three or four times” on compression rates for such a deep dive, which would be the company’s deepest. Mr Veal had dived to 212m with a different company.

“They didn’t, in my opinion, seem to be confident or know exactly what they were doing,” he said.

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