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Student scuba diver dies during class at JBLM

UPDATED: Mon., May 16, 2022

Associated Press

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — A scuba diver was found dead after he didn’t resurface during a class in American Lake on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The student diver, a veteran, was participating in a class for civilians, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, whose dive team recovered the body, the Seattle Times reported.

At 12:18 p.m. Saturday, West Pierce called the Pierce County Metro Dive Team, which has multiple divers and advanced equipment, said Sgt. Darren Moss Jr., spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office. Using sonar, the dive team located the body at 4:30 p.m.

It is unclear who operated the dive class. The Northwest Adventure Center, a base-run outdoor activities operator, was holding an open water scuba diver certification on Saturday, but the class website said the dive was held at a different spot. Sheriff’s rescuers were called to Russell Landing but the class website said the dive would be at Sunnyside Beach in Steilacoom.

JBLM Scuba, a shop at the Northwest Adventure Center, is a “5-Star Dive Center” approved by PADI, an industry association. No one could be reached there on Sunday.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an investigation; the agency did not respond to an email Sunday.

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