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Deployed Marines face electrocution threat

May. 23, 2012 - 07:09PM   |   Last Updated: May. 23, 2012 - 07:09PM  |  
Clockwise from upper left are: Cpl. Jon-LukeBateman, Cpl. Adam Buyes, Cpl. Connor Lowry and Lance Cpl. Kenneth Cochran.
Clockwise from upper left are: Cpl. Jon-LukeBateman, Cpl. Adam Buyes, Cpl. Connor Lowry and Lance Cpl. Kenneth Cochran. ()
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At least four Marines have been electrocuted in Afghanistan since November, highlighting another hazard for ground forces fighting in Helmand province.

Cpls. Adam Buyes, Connor Lowry and Jon-Luke Bateman and Lance Cpl. Kenneth Cochran were killed in three separate incidents. Buyes died Nov. 26, Bateman and Cochran on Jan. 15, and Lowry on March 1.

Buyes was a radio operator with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, out of Okinawa, Japan. He died in Sangin district after leaving a patrol base on foot with his unit, according to documents outlining a command investigation into his death. His three-foot radio antenna hit a power line hanging about eight feet high, causing "sparks/fire" beneath his feet.

The documents were released to Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Initially, Cpl. Buyes was groaning, taking approximately one breath every five seconds, and had a weak pulse," the documents say. "Shortly thereafter, Cpl. Buyes stopped groaning and his breathing and pulse diminished quickly, until the corpsman could not detect any pulse or breathing."

Lowry was an ammunition technician with Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. He died after a radio antenna touched a low-hanging power line in Kajaki district, Marines in his unit told Marine Corps Times during an April embed with their unit. His family, speaking with media in Lowry's hometown, acknowledged electrocution caused his death.

Bateman and Cochran died in Musa Qala district in an accident involving an electric generator, according to a report in the Pahrump Valley Times, a newspaper in Bateman's hometown area. Bateman was an infantryman with Camp Pendleton's 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, and Cochran was a water support technician with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, out of Okinawa, Japan.

A March 12 incident involving Marines and power lines in Helmand also killed an Afghan civilian, according to the Naval Safety Center, out of Norfolk, Va. An antenna on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle hit a power line, causing an electrical surge that resulted in a tire rim hurtling toward an unidentified person on the side of the road, military officials said.

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