PA Volunteer fireman drowns during diving exercise
Volunteer fireman drowns during diving exercise
By The Tribune-Review
Monday, August 29, 2005
A diver with Lower Burrell Volunteer Fire Department No. 3 died
yesterday as a result of a diving accident in the line of duty
Saturday, Fire Chief Mark Marmo said in a release.
Michael Switala, 50, of Oregon Drive in Lower Burrell, was an 18-
year member of the department, having served in several offices
within the organization, Marmo said.
Scott Camerlo, of Scott's Scuba in Freeport, said Switala was
participating in a night diving exercise at a lake near Slippery
Rock when the accident occurred.
"It appears to have been some type of medical condition that caused
him to go unconscious under water," Camerlo said.
Switala's diving buddy during the exercise saw that Switala's
mouthpiece to his air tanks was out of his mouth and that Switala
appeared to be unconscious, Camerlo said.
The diving buddy brought Switala to the surface where Camerlo and
three others in the diving group performed CPR until emergency
medical workers arrived, Camerlo said.
Switala was first taken to United Community Hospital in nearby Grove
City, Lawrence County, then transferred to UPMC Presbyterian
hospital in Oakland, Camerlo said.
The Allegheny County coroner's office said Switala's death was a
result of accidental drowning.
Pennsylvania Firefighter Dies
Updated: 08-29-2005 01:18:50 PM
The Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania Volunteer Fire Company No. 3 is
reporting the death of one of their firefighters in a dive training
Michael Switala, 50, a member of Station 69 and Water Rescue 68,
died August 28 as a result of an accident the day before.
Firefighter Switala was an 18-year member of the department having
served in several different offices within the organization. He is
survived by his wife Aimee, daughter Heather, 26, and two sons,
Marine Lance Corporal Aaron Switala, age 24 and Matt, age 19.
A memorial fund to aid the family is being established. Funeral and
additional information will be released as available.