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Airman Dies in Accident, Safety Protocol Violations Reported

September 27, 2020

FL- writes that an Airman 1st Class died in a 2,000-yard swim during a training event at the Air Force Combat Dive Center this spring. The investigation into the incident determined that the Air Education and Training Command failed to follow adequate safety protocols prior to the accident. The guidelines indicate that in order to protect the trainees, each is meant to be tethered to another swimmer of approximately the same ability. By doing so, no one is at risk of being stranded alone when something goes wrong. The victim was not tethered to another soldier at the time of his tragic death.*

Tests indicated that the soldier had taken two Unisom the night before the swim. The drug is an over-the-counter sleep aid which the victim took without prior authorization. Taking the sleep aid is against the Air Force instructions and the policy for the class. 

The 24-year-old had enlisted in the Air Force in 2018 and was assigned to the Special Tactics Training Squadron. At the time of his death, he was at the 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron, Detachment 1. The dive school specializes in training advanced rescue operations, diving, and advanced combat diving. All students are required to complete a 2,000-year surface swim while using simulated combat gear. The distance is over one mile. The gear includes a load-bearing vest with two-pound weights, a mask, simulation ammunition, a dive tool, a rubber AR-15, and a personal floatation device. 

After the school noticed the soldier missing, a rescue operation began. The victim's body was at the bottom of sixteen feet of water. 

It is not clear what caused the victim to drown. There were no indications of any struggle or medical issue that preceded the drowning that would have prevented him from activating his personal floatation device. 

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Category: Personal Injury

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.