Please, please don't blame the dead, especially if you do not know the facts...
Heather Johnston - Adv Diver/Math Professor, daughter of the late Byron and Shirley Johnston
October 15, 2004 at 12:32:05
Thank you Richard and others for standing up for the deceased.
I have said it before on this forum, and I will say it again. Unless you have personally met the deceased, you have no right to draw broad generalizations about them based on other divers you have met, even other members of the Richmond Dive Club.
In polite society it is generally considered extremely poor manners to speak ill of the deceased.
Travis, I hope you have at least enough manners to understand that your comments might cause the friends and families of the deceased to lose their tempers.
Although you are not alone in blaming the dead, you are very naive, if you think you know who my parents were, or what they were thinking when they boarded Peter Hughes' Boat.
The last thing my father did before he left his home to get on a plane to Belize was print out a weather map of the Carribean on his PC.
Also, there is a photo of the Wave Dancer in Big Creek before the hurricane with passengers on deck that appeared in the National Geographic Article in which my father looks very, very worried and somewhat angry -- he certainly does not look like he's about to participate in a "hurricane party" as if anyone would expect a 60 year old man and his 58 year old wife to behave this way.
According to the CDNN Tom Stark interview, and personal communications I have had with the surviving passengers, the Captain LIED to his passengers about the severity and location of the hurricane and FAILED to pass on the offer from the mayor of shelter on shore to his passengers.
According to weather reports available to the Captain at the time (CDNN Special Report: Wave Dancer Tragedy) the Wave Dancer chose a path TOWARDS the hurricane, knowing full well that it was doing so. Why did Peter Hughes himself tell the boat captain via satellite phone to continue south towards the hurricane, instead of changing course to head north away from it? I can only assume that this decision was made with the safety of the BOAT in mind.
You can continue waiting for "The Facts" to come out in the IMMARBE report, if you like. I think it is highly unlikely that the IMMARBE report will every come out, and that we have enough facts available right now to draw reasonable conclusions.
In case anyone has forgotten, a former judge decided that Peter Hughes was guilty under Virginia law in the out of court settlement. That is much, much more relevant than the IMMARBE report to me. The financial settlement in this case, was trivial compared to the 20 wrongful deaths caused, but given the corruption prevalent in Belize this was the only feasible legal option and one which all of the deceased's lawyers agreed to.