A sailor died last week in Guam after he was found unresponsive in the water while snorkeling with friends, Navy officials confirmed Wednesday.
Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 3rd Class Daniel Perez, 22, had gone snorkeling with friends at Fish Eye Marine Park on Jan. 11, according to Lt. Cmdr. Rick Moore, a spokesman for Joint Region Marianas.
Perez was transported to Naval Hospital Guam where he was declared dead, Moore said.
The California native had only been assigned to the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 for four months, but Perez already had made an impression, his commanding officer, Cmdr. Christopher Carreon, said in a statement to Navy Times.
“Two weeks ago, he participated in a lifesaving medevac, expertly performing his duties under pressure, Carreon said. “The Island Knight family will deeply miss our fellow sailor, and we offer our thoughts and prayers to his other friends and family affected by this tragedy.”
A federal judge on Friday approved the monetary settlement to help the parents care for their child, who suffers severe and permanent brain damage.
The Guam Daily Post reported Wednesday that an autopsy found Perez died as the result of an accidental drowning.
“Petty Officer Perez was a kind, hardworking sailor, who wore a constant smile,” Carreon said. “In the four months he was at HSC-25, he already made strong bonds with many in our squadron.”
He enlisted in the Navy in March 2017 and Guam was his first duty station, according to Perez’s service record.