RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is releasing new details regarding the death of two special agents killed Friday in a training exercise off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The FBI says Special Agent Christopher Lorek, 41, and Special Agent Stephen Shaw, 40, died while participating in a maritime counterterrorism training exercise that involved an aircraft and a ship.
Both men were assigned to the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, which is part of the elite Hostage Rescue Team based in Quantico, Virginia.
The FBI says the agents were about 12 miles from the coastline, and in the process of fast-roping from an aircraft onto a military sealift command ship, when the aircraft encountered difficulties and the agents lost their grip and fell 75-90 feet into the water.
Special Agent Lorek joined the FBI in 1996 and was a resident of Glen Allen. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 11 and 8.
Special Agent Shaw joined the FBI in 2005 and leaves behind his wife, a 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.
The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team often trains with the military, including Navy Seals, to respond to criminal and terrorism activity that takes place on ships near U.S. coastlines.
“We should be grieving the loss of these two men who risked themselves for our benefit,” says former Army Ranger Mike Banks.
Banks worked in special operations for 18 years and in intelligence for nearly 20 years. He says the training missions performed by the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team are as intense and dangerous as military operations.
“Their rescue missions are very dangerous every day, but they have to train in the worst weather to be able to do that,” Banks says.
Neither the FBI or the Medical Examiner’s Office has released a cause of death.
Last month marked the 30th anniversary of the Hostage Rescue Team, federal law enforcement’s only full-time counterterrorism unit.