How did Naya Rivera die? Widower Ryan Dorsey files wrongful death suit claiming the boat was ill-equipped

Dorsey has also claimed that the employee of the park who rented the boat to Rivera allegedly 'failed' to advise her to wear the life jacket


                            How did Naya Rivera die? Widower Ryan Dorsey files wrongful death suit claiming the boat was ill-equipped
Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey (Getty Images)

Five months after the tragic death of the 'Glee' star Naya Rivera, her former husband Ryan Dorsey has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of their five-year-old son Josey. According to the court documents, the widower is suing Ventura County's Parks and Recreation Management and the United Water Conservation District for her "wrongful death" and "negligent infliction of emotional distress," reports People. 

Rivera was found dead on July 13, five days after she went missing during a trip with her son at Lake Peru. The actress is said to have rented a pontoon on July 8. The staff of the lake went looking for her when the mother-son duo didn't return after a three-hour rental and found Josey asleep in the boat. The actress was declared dead on July 9. While the previous reports speculated that the actress "accidentally drowned" after jumping into the water with her son, her ex is blaming the park's management for providing her with a boat that was ill-equipped. 

Dorsey and Rivera's estate reportedly filed the paperwork on Tuesday, November 17. The lawsuit states, "[The boat] was not equipped with a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats. Disturbingly, later inspection revealed that the boat was not even equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices, in direct violation of California law, which requires that all pontoons longer than 16 feet be equipped with flotation devices."

The documents also note that the region did not have a "single" warning sign, despite its "deadly history". It reads, "a single sign anywhere — not at the entrance, at the dock, at the popular swimming area of Diablo Cove, not anywhere — warning of the lake's strong currents, low visibility, high winds, changing water depths, underwater caves, ledges and drop offs, or the trees, brush and other debris that congest its waters due to the vastly changing water levels and winds."

It further cites that besides Rivera who had "strong swimming skills, more than two dozen people have drowned in Lake Piru since 1959."

According to the Daily Mail, Dorsey has also claimed that the employee of the park who rented the boat to Rivera allegedly "failed" to advise her to wear the life jacket. However, the man who rented the boat has said in defense that Rivera declined a life vest, but he nevertheless put it in the boat. According to authorities, Josey was found wearing the life vest when found, but the actress wasn't. 

While there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Rivera's death, autopsy reports from September reveal that she "accidentally" drowned after jumping into the lake with her son. She helped him back onto the boat and reportedly raised her arm in the air calling for help. She's said to have died "within minutes" of drowning and Josey told the investigators that his mother disappeared under the surface of the water. 

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