Wed, Feb 04, 2009 - Page 6 News List

US Navy confirms service member in Iraq electrocuted

AP , WASHINGTON

A third US service member was determined to have been electrocuted in a shower in Iraq, and Navy criminal investigators are on the case.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class David Cedergren, 25, died on Sept. 11, 2004, while showering. His family was told he died of natural causes.

Late last year, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology changed the manner of Cedergren’s death to “accidental,” caused by electrocution and inflammation of the heart. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has reopened an investigation into his death, Ed Buice, a service spokesman, said on Monday.

Cedergren’s death is among 18 electrocution deaths under review as part of a US Department of Defense Inspector General inquiry. The inquiry primarily involves electrical work done at a facility where a Green Beret, Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth, 24, was electrocuted while showering in January last year.

Maseth’s death was initially considered accidental, but is now classified by Army investigators as “negligent homicide” caused by contractor KBR and two of its supervisors.

Sixteen of those who died were US service members and two were military contractors. Improperly installed or maintained electrical devices have been blamed in some of the deaths, while accidental contact with power lines has also been a cause in the electrocution deaths.

Cedergren, a medic, was found in an outdoor shower stall in Camp Iskandariyah, Iraq, not breathing and without a pulse.

His brother, Barry Cedergren, said his family initially suspected he had been shocked because, according to reports, witnesses told investigators that some service members had reported being shocked in the shower.

He said military investigators took a second look at the case after a request from former Republican senator Norm Coleman.

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