Three soldiers prosecuted for fatal diving accident on Curacao

The Public Prosecutor is prosecuting three soldiers for their involvement in a fatal diving accident on Curacao in 2015, in which a 23-year-old woman was killed. They are accused of violating service regulations and thereby creating a "life-threatening situation", the Prosecutor announced on Monday.

The soldiers facing prosecution are two men, aged 44 and 51 years, and a 49-year-old woman. They are all members of the Royal Netherlands Navy. 

The 23-year-old woman was part of a marine diving unit that was doing a multi-day exercise at the end of November 2015. She dove to a depth of 40 meters, where she reported that water was running into her mask. A short time later her voice communication cut out, and they switched to communicating through the signal line, the Prosecutor said. At the end of the dive time, the woman no longer responded to signals via the signal line. A rescue operation was immediately launched, but it was too late.

According to the Prosecutor, the exercise should have been halted the moment the woman's voice communication failed. "The Public Prosecution Service also accuses the suspects of keeping insufficient contact with the diver after the failure of the voice communication", the Prosecutor said.

Another 51-year-old man is still being questioned as a suspect. Whether he too will be prosecuted, will be decided at a later time.