Sources Challenge Navy's Account of SEAL Trainee's Death - NBC New York
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Sources Challenge Navy's Account of SEAL Trainee's Death

Seaman James Derek Lovelace, 21, drowned during a training exercise on May 6

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    Seaman James Derek Lovelace, 21, died during basic underwater demolition/SEAL training, better known as BUD/S.

    A week after a Navy SEAL trainee died following a swimming drill in California, accounts are emerging that challenge the Navy's narrative of what happened, alleging the death may have been the result of an instructor going too far.

    Seaman James Derek Lovelace, 21, drowned during a training exercise on May 6 called "drown proofing," according to the Navy.

    But sources who've spoken to NBC News and The Virginian-Pilot say the drill wasn't "drown proofing," but instead a rather more intense exercise known as "combat treading," which involved physical harassment of trainees by instructors in the water intended to test their ability to stay afloat under stress.

    The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Lovelace was held underwater until he passed out by an instructor who then blamed the drowning on the trainee's "inability to perform."

    A Navy spokesman, said in a statement Friday that Naval Special Warfare Command is "fully cooperating" with the NCIS investigation and a separate Navy safety investigation into the training death. The instructor has been removed from training as officials investigate Lovelace's death, a spokesman told NBC News.