Lanai, HI – Bennington Police Department (BPD) Officer Mark Sundermeier died in a scuba diving accident while vacationing in Hawaii on Oct. 22, according to his department.
Officer Sundermeier was diving with his wife when the incident occurred, BPD Chief Andrew Hilscher told KETV on Monday.
The couple was participating in a scuba diving tour near the Knob Hill dive site off of the island of Lanai when Officer Sundermeier failed to answer during a roll call back onboard the boat, KHNL reported.
Tour staff began searching for the 62-year-old officer and found him unresponsive in the water several minutes later, according to the news outlet.
They administered CPR, but it was not successful.
Officer Sundermeier was rushed to Manele Boat Harbor, where the boat was met by emergency medical personnel, KHNL reported.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officer Sundermeier’s exact cause of death will be determined after an autopsy, KHNL reported.
The investigation into the incident remained ongoing, according to police.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Bennington Police Officer Mark Sundermeier this weekend,” the BPD said in a press release on Monday.
“Officer Sundermeier was one of the…kindest, caring, and intelligent officers and person that I have ever had the privilege of working with and knowing,” Chief Hilscher said. “His passing is truly heart breaking.”
Officer Sundermeier served the Omaha Police Department for 27 years prior to retiring at the rank of deputy chief in 2009, KETV reported.
He simultaneously worked as a reserve deputy at the Douglas County Sheriff’s office from 1998 until 2004, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Officer Sundermeier went on to serve as the assistant chief of the Metro Community College Police Department from 2009 until 2011.
He’d been working as a part-time BPD officer since 2009, according to his department.
“He will be greatly missed by all of our officers and community,” the BPD said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer also released a statement in the wake of the lifelong officer’s tragic passing.
“Retired Deputy Chief Mark Sundermeier left a good legacy for himself at the Omaha Police Department and we are saddened by his sudden passing,” Chief Schmaderer said, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “His family and friends are in our thoughts during this difficult time.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Bennington Police Department Officer Mark Sundermeier, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.