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A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, who was qualified as a combat diver, drowned Friday in the Philippines, according to Army officials.

Staff Sgt. Joseph F. Curreri, 27, of Los Angeles, drowned in Siet Lake, in the southern Philippines near Panamao, Army Special Operations Command officials said in a news release Tuesday.

The release said the drowning was accidental and non-combat related.

Curreri was a communications specialist with 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Fort Lewis, Wash.

He was deployed with the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, which works in a non-combat role to support the Philippine military’s anti-terrorist efforts.

The Philippine Star reported that Philippine Maj. Gen. Ruben Rafael, Task Force Comet commander, said Curreri went diving at the lake about 3 p.m. Friday and was reported missing around 7 p.m.

The paper reported Rafael as saying that Curreri was searching for a necklace he had lost in the lake earlier Friday.

After an all-night search, his body was found about 8 a.m. Saturday, the paper reported.

U.S. Army Capt. Meritt Phillips, a joint task force spokesman, said the drowning remains under investigation, and “it would be inappropriate to speculate on the details … until the investigation is complete.”

Curreri, who was born and raised in a Baltimore suburb, founded his high school’s water polo team, according to the Army.

At the University of Southern California, he was varsity swimmer and captain of the swim team his final year.

He joined the Army in 2004 as an infantryman, volunteered for airborne and Special Forces training and was assigned to 2nd Battalion last year.

Curreri is survived by his wife, Athena, of Los Angeles; his mother, Karen, and sister, Shannon, both of Redondo Beach, Calif.; and his father, Frank, stepmother, Tricia, and stepsister Angelia, all of Parkville, Md.

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