A Navy SEAL student who died two weeks ago was the fifth trainee in four months to lose consciousness during a pool exercise in California, according to Navy injury data obtained by NBC News and The Virginian-Pilot.
More accurate data related to pool injuries was mandated after two blackout deaths last year. According to recent data, there have as many pool blackouts this year as were reported over the past 10 years at the training course in Coronado.
Seaman James Derek Lovelace, 21, died on May 6 during a pool drill in California. His death has raised questions about whether instructors are following safety protocols and whether the training has become dangerous in recent years. Two other students passed out in back-to-back drills six weeks before his death, and two other students lost consciousness in March and January during training exercises.
The Navy says there hasn’t been an increase in blackouts and that safety standards haven’t been wavered. The course is designed to produce people who can operate in remote and dangerous situations, and that the training has to be difficult, according to the Navy.