Autopsy: Firefighter died of gas embolism during Lake Norman rescue dive

Autopsy: Firefighter died of gas embolism during Lake Norman rescue dive

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — An autopsy shows a firefighter died from a gas embolism while trying to recover the body of a missing swimmer in Lake Norman.

A medical examiner's report released Thursday revealed 28-year-old Bradley Long died June 6 after gas bubbles likely blocked an artery.

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Long was diving with two other Sherrills Ford-Terrell Volunteer Fire and Rescue divers for 14 minutes when rescuers monitoring air usage above the surface signaled them to ascend.

The report says Long ascended with increasing speed after passing 68 feet in depth without performing required safety stops.

At 20 feet, a fellow diver said Long motioned that he was out of air and appeared to panic, removing his mask and the other driver's.

The diver surfaced, calling for help. Long's body was later recovered.

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