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Petty Officer 1st Class Paul G. Richardson, a member of the crew of the submarine tender USS Frank Cable, was found dead Friday by two Japanese fishermen in the Asan Channel, Navy officials said.

The family of the 36-year-old sailor, who was unmarried, was notified that Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola determined Richardson died from drowning, according to Guam Naval Base officials.

Richardson was a machinist’s mate on the USS Frank Cable, Lt. Cmdr. Marc Boyd, a U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman, said late Tuesday evening. The Seventh Fleet vessel, operating from Guam Naval Base, is the Navy’s only tender still in service.

Boyd said he did not know if Navy officials had considered Richardson missing but said the petty officer “was on leave status at the time his body was found.”

Two Japanese fisherman found the body, in full diving gear including two scuba tanks

A local news report, citing unnamed Navy officials, suggested he could have run out of air while under water.

“Conditions surrounding the sailor’s death are under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in conjunction with local authorities,” Boyd said.

“All military personnel, whether permanently assigned or visiting the Marianas, are required to watch a 30-minute water safety training video prior to entering the ocean,” wrote Senior Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Annis, a Guam Naval Base spokesman.

“In addition,” he stated, “certain rules apply to water activities for military personnel, especially at beaches on military installations and in any dangerous reef and surf zones.”

Richardson was the 20th person and the only U.S. servicemember to drown in Guam waters this year, he said.

“Risk management practices and the buddy system are strongly encouraged for all military personnel participating in any outdoor activities in the region,” Annis stated.

Six people drowned in 2003 and 2002 each, according to a local news report.

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