The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors voted unanimously Sept. 22 to disband the IID dive team, according to a district press release.
The vote was taken during closed session and reported during the public portion of the meeting.
The board also directed staff to inventory the dive team’s equipment and appropriately dispose of it following established district policies (public sale, exchange to public agencies for in-kind services, etc.), according to a district press release.
“After the unfortunate incident in which a member of the IID dive team perished, the activities of the dive team have been suspended, the incident investigated and activities of the team evaluated,” said Frank Oswalt, IID general counsel. “Today, the board’s action officially disbands the dive team.”
The team’s activities were suspended in late October 2018 following the tragic death of one of its members. IID will continue to provide personnel who will respond to emergency events involving district infrastructure and work with first responders as appropriate.
IID Regulatory and Emergency Planning Coordinator Jonathan Burnworth, who was a member of the dive team, died after being removed from life support Oct. 27, 2018, in University of California San Diego Medical Center after he was pulled from a Holtville-area canal by fellow IID divers on Oct. 26, 2018, according to a report from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Burnworth, an Imperial resident, died at the age of 32, according to his obituary on Legacy.com
The IID diver was recovered from the waters of the Ash Canal unresponsive as he attempted to recover a body in a submerged vehicle. Fellow divers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Burnworth but he never woke up, according to the Cal/OSHA report.