The following statement was released overnight by DAN America.
It is with a heavy heart that the DAN family announces the passing of Sergio Viegas, Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of DAN Brasil.
For more than two decades, Sergio dedicated himself tirelessly and patiently to DAN’s mission, gaining the trust of Brazil’s dive industry and enabling DAN to extend its impact in that region. He brought intelligence, political savvy and true grit to his work – something that no other individual in the Brazilian dive community has achieved – because he believed so strongly in the capacity of dive safety programs to benefit Brazilian divers and dive businesses.
Sergio was educated and sophisticated, but, despite often being clearly the smartest person in the room, he was also humble and selfless. Kind, respectful and possessing a great sense of humor, Sergio was the consummate professional. He lived simply and showed little interest in material things. He was also an adventurer – a skilled sailor who crossed the Atlantic, an expert cave and technical diver, a man who maintained a quiet, calm focus when confronted with dangerous situations.
As a dive professional, Sergio was widely revered and beloved by his students worldwide; those he trained to become dive instructors joined a group that came to be known as the “Sergio Network.” When, in 2011-2012, Brazil’s dive fatalities increased, Sergio united the normally fractious leaders of the local dive industry and held a landmark workshop to reduce incidents. It was the first time in Brazil that all the major training organizations were willing to meet – a feat only possible because of the universal respect Sergio had garnered in the professional dive community there. He also recently managed to tap into the “Sergio Network” to form a partnership between the DAN Brasil Dive Emergency Hotline with the internationally known Poison Control Center at UNICAMP University Hospital in Campinas, when the busy director of the center decided to make some time to listen to his daughter’s esteemed dive instructor.
Sergio’s qualities and accomplishments are too long to list. He left an indelible mark in the field of dive safety and in the lives of any who were privileged to know him. He was brave, cheerful, considerate almost to a fault and always striving to do better.
He was a wonderful friend and a remarkable human being, and his passing marks a great loss.