MISSOULA — The family of the teenager who died during an advanced scuba diving class in Glacier National Park last fall filed a multi-million-dollar civil suit against the owners of the dive shop, the instructors and the professional diving association that oversees the sport.
On Nov. 1, 2020, 18-year-old Linnea Mills signed up for an advanced diving class with Gull Dive in Missoula. The class later took place on McDonald Lake. The $12-million suit alleges negligence, wrongful death, and infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit alleges Linnea was diving with a “drysuit” when she had not had the proper instruction beforehand and was not trained to use it. Linnea was also wearing a dry suit that lacked a functional inflator and had inadequate supervision during an advanced open water scuba diving training course.
Court papers claim Gull Dive had a duty to assess whether Linnea was competent and sufficiently trained, certified, and skilled to use a dry suit. The suit alleges Linnea was unable to add air to the inside of her drysuit due to an inoperable inflator and was crushed by the pressure of the water and died.
The plaintiffs say despite Linnea being in obvious distress under the water, no instructor came to help her.
The 112-page lawsuit also was filed in the name of a fellow diver who tried to save Linnea that afternoon and who has the event recorded on a GoPro video camera he was using at the time of the class.
Attorney Dave Concannon also named the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) for having ambiguous rules regarding instructor qualifications. The suit also alleges the company did not have a permit to dive in Glacier National Park that day.
This is the second recent civil suit against Gull Dive. They were also named in a lawsuit over the death of another diver at Canyon Ferry Reservoir by renting diving equipment to someone who was not certified to use it.
The National Park Service is also investigating Linnea’s death.
MTN News reached out multiple times to the Gull Dive defense attorney for a comment and has not received a response.