PALM DESERT, Calif. -- - Tom Jaskulski was the founder and director of the Riverside County Sheriff's dive team. He had extensive experience in the water, leading more than 100 dive missions, serving as a volunteer diving safety officer for the National Park Service and assisting in underwater research to monitor endangered fish species.
That's why the Jaskulski family was so shocked and devastated by Tom's tragic death in March. The long-time diver was recertifying a diving license with the National Park Service when he showed "unmistakable signs of distress," according to lawyer Dan Bolton.
This week the family's filed a claim against the YMCA Palm Desert Aquatic Center, the City of Palm Desert and the National Park Service, all parties that the family deems responsible for failing to save Tom's life.
Attorney Dan Bolton says this tragedy was "totally preventable" and the family wants to ensure something like this never happens again, citing what he says was poor training at the YMCA and improper documentation at the swim test site.
"Lifeguards have a tremendous responsibility for the safety and security for those people using the pool, regardless of their age or experience or expertise with swimming. Everyone is entitled to the same supervision," attorney Dan Bolton said.
In March, Tom was transported to Eisenhower Medical Center where he remained in a coma until he passed away on March 24, 2018.
Tom was awarded the prestigious Divers Alert Network Diver of the Year in 2004 and had more than 40 years of experience in dive instruction and research, law enforcement and community service.
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