Sunday, May 29, 2011

Family seeks answers in death of diver trainee

By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday May 29, 2011 10:02:24 EDT

Elmont, N.Y. — It was the third day of Special Forces pre-scuba training and Capt. Juan E. Lightfoot was exhausted.

He gripped the edge of the pool and refused to let go. But an instructor peeled his hands from the edge of the pool and another dragged him away from the wall.

Lightfoot went limp and sank to the bottom of the 11-foot, 6-inch-deep pool. Despite efforts to revive him, Lightfoot never woke up.

Four days later, his family had him removed from life support.

The armed forces medical examiner ruled Lightfoot’s death a homicide. The medical examiner, Mark Shelly, said Lightfoot, 34, died of complications from a near-drowning. He noted that Lightfoot, who was “anxious and hyperventilating,” tried to exit the pool, “but the instructors did not allow him to do so.” When the instructor pried his hands from the wall, he “immediately sank to the bottom,” Shelly wrote, adding that Lightfoot “would have survived if he had been able to exit the pool.”

Read the entire story here.

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