San Diego, Calif. -- Authorities say a contractor with a Navy program that trains dolphins and sea lions for missions drowned during a nighttime marine mammal exercise in San Diego Bay.
Navy spokesman Jim Fallin told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it was the first such death for the program that started in 1959.
The San Diego County coroner’s office says 29-year-old Coll Perske didn’t resurface during an exercise Monday night. His colleagues pulled him out of the water and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Fallin says the employee of Virginia Beach-based Science Applications International Corp. was part of a team of contractors training Navy dolphins and sea lions to intercept someone in the water, but it appears the mammals had no contact at the time with Perske.