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Navy Trainee Dies After Accident

July 3, 1998

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) _ A Navy airman who was working to become one of the Navy’s elite SEAL team members died after apparently passing out in a swimming pool during a training exercise.

Gordon Racine Jr., 25, died Thursday evening after spending a little more than a day on life support at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

After lunch Wednesday, Racine and other trainees jumped into the pool with boots and clothes on for a survival swim, part of the grueling training would-be SEALs must undergo.

They were practicing taking off their shirts and pants to use them as flotation devices at a training center just across San Diego Bay, officials said.

Racine had vomited ``and inhaled some of those particles and some water into his lungs, and then he apparently passed out,″ Lt. Dee Dee Van Wormer said.

Racine was pulled from the pool and given CPR before being taken to the hospital, but his airway was believed to have been blocked, Van Wormer said.

The Navy is investigating the accident and ordered a local ``safety stand down″ Thursday, Van Wormer said.

``We stopped all training today to kind of reflect what our procedures are, to give everyone a chance to get over this,″ Van Wormer said.

She said Racine had performed the same task before, as all trainees do in Navy boot camp.

Racine, who was from Houston, had been a Navy airman for almost three years. His parents, girlfriend and other relatives were at his bedside when he died.

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