Investigation into the death of salmon diver now underway

Editorial Staff

Between 2019 and 2022, 27 divers have died in the Chile’s Aysen region, with 103 serious accidents recorded.

An investigation is underway following the death of a diver at a salmon farm in Chile.

The diver, who has been named as Víctor Álex Soto by Chilean newspaper Diario El Divisadero, was carrying out underwater tasks at a farm operated by Chilean salmon farmer Exportadora Los Fiordos when the incident occurred on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

His duties included removing mortalities from the site’s netpens.

The incident occurred while the diver was working in the fifth cage after completing tasks in four others. Initial information suggests that all his dives were less than 20 meters deep and took around 40 minutes in total, according to local media. This duration was within the maximum limit of 50 minutes set for this type of underwater work.

The investigation is being conducted by the Provincial Labor Inspection of Aysén. An inspector from this authority arrived at the site on the same day as the incident, accompanied by a navy vessel.

Christian Aros Troncoso, the regional labor director, expressed his condolences and highlighted the authorities’ ongoing concerns about worker well-being in the industry.

In 2022, the Aysén Labor Directorate carried out 64 inspections, resulting in 35 fines. During the first half of this year, approximately 10 inspections led to 15 sanctions against companies in the aquaculture sector.

Víctor Soto’s death marks the second fatality this year in the Aysén diving sector. Another diver lost his life on Sep. 4, after been struck by an object at a site.

Between 2019 and 2022, 27 divers have died in Aysén, with 103 serious accidents recorded.

In February this year, Chile’s Environmental Superintendancy (SMA) said it was preparing charges against Exportadora Los Fiordos including fines of up to $5.6 million in relation to non compliance with the handling, storage and containment of fish mortalities at the company’s Este Seno Melimoyu growout site in Melimoyu National Park.


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