FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Eielson Air Force Base serviceman who drowned in Polaris Lake Wednesday morning has been identified as Airman First Class Nathanial A. Malli of Crofton, Md.
Malli was a weapons load crew member with the 18th Fighter Squadron. He was serving as part of a five-person base cleanup team when he and another airman on the team tried to swim across the lake, which is about 80 to 100 yards across and 20 to 25 feet deep.
According to reports, Malli became tired and went under about three-quarters of the way across the lake.
The team supervisor, who was on the shore nearest to Malli, swam out and dove down several times in search of Malli but could not find him. He returned to shore and called 911.
Eielson fire units responded with a boat but could not find Malli. Alaska State Trooper divers were brought in and located his body, about 2 1/2 hours after he went under.
Malli, who had been stationed at Eielson for a year, was married and had one child.
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