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4 suspended during probe of recruit’s death

Four Marines have been suspended while military officials investigate the death of a recruit who died during a training exercise.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Four more Marines have been suspended while authorities investigate the death of a recruit who died during a training exercise, military officials said Saturday.

The four Marines saw a drill instructor grab recruit Jason Tharp by the shirt and hit him in the chest, according to a video shot by Columbia television station WIS a day before Tharp died. The drill instructor was suspended earlier.

Tharp, of Sutton, W.Va., drowned Feb. 8 in a swimming pool while participating in a water-survival training course at Parris Island.

Military officials have acknowledged the drill instructor’s actions violated regulations.

“Anyone who is directly or indirectly involved or anyone who has knowledge or observes a violation of standard operating procedure can be suspended,” said Capt. Jamie Nott, a Parris Island spokesman.

Nott would not give the name or rank of any of the suspended Marines.

Military officials say Tharp entered the pool voluntarily the day he died and was swimming the 25-meter requirement, but another drill instructor told the TV station Tharp had refused to get in the water because he was afraid he would not be able to swim correctly.