The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Court rules against diver who lost foot due to negligence

Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 13:56 Last update: about 7 years ago

A diver who lost his left foot after he was hit by a speedboat was blamed by a court with causing the accident. The court ruled that the man should not be entitled to damages since he had been diving in open water without a marker buoy.


The incident occurred in May 2009 off the coast of San Blas in Gozo, when 59-year-old Louis Bonavia had taken his friend Ian Busuttil out on his dinghy to go fishing.

Whilst snorkelling just below the surface, Bonavia's foot was severed by the propeller of a passing speedboat driven by John Bonello.

The court experts found that the boat had been travelling at a low speed outside the swimming zone. In fact, it was established that the boat had been some 130 metres away from the shore contrary to the 30 metres claimed by Bonavia.

The boat owner also informed the court that the divers were made hardly visible due to their dark coloured wetsuits. The court was also told that the incident occurred 30 metres away from the divers’ dinghy.

The dinghy also had three unused marker buoys on board. When asked by the court, Bonavia had been unable to explain why these buoys had not been used.


Mr Justice Silvio Meli, presiding the First Hall of the Civil Court ruled that the accident occurred solely as a result of imprudence and negligence on Bonavia's part.

The applicant "despite his claims of vast experience in this particular field, completely ignored the rules governing safety at sea," the court said, dismissing the man's claim for damages.

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