A firefighter who died during an underwater search for a missing swimmer in June died after he “ran out of air underwater” according to Major Andy Poteat of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.
Bradley Long's exact cause of death has been under investigation since his death on June 6.
Poteat said investigators have found no problem's with Long's equipment and no signs of foul play. He said the death was a "tragic accident."
Several other agencies are still investigating Long's death, including OSHA. His dive equipment was sent to experts.
Major Poteat said he believes it was standard gear and would show how much air was left, but that Long ran out before resurfacing. He would not speculate on why Long ran out of air.
Long and two other firefighters went into the water to search for a 29-year-old man who jumped off a boat and didn't make it out of the water.
Officials said early on that Long and the firefighters experienced an "emergency" in 35 to 75 feet of water, close to where the swimmer went missing. Two divers came out of the water, Long did not, officials said.
"A rescue effort was implemented and when they reached him he had already succumb to his injuries," Catawba County Emergency Management said in June. The two other firefighters went to Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.
Long worked at the Newton Fire Department and was a volunteer with Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue, where he had been a member for 12 years. He was working with Sherrills Ford during the search.
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