SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – A former Border Patrol agent is on permanent disability after a training exercise took a dangerous turn.
The exercise took place at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado along the Silver Strand State Beach, after a rainstorm contaminated the water.
Willey, 40, said he is still dealing with the harmful effects of the flesh eating bacteria that he contracted in April 2010 at the base.
Willey recalled the frightful day when his arm ballooned to the size of a volleyball.
“It spread up into my neck,” said Willey. “The skin was stretched to the point where it was shiny and it seemed like it was going to pop burst.”
Willey had group A strep and necrotizing fasciitis (widely known as "flesh-eating bacteria"), which led to his permanent federal disability.
At the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center in Imperial Beach Friday, Willey joined with Citizens Against Sewage.
“Since January 1 of this year 1.8 billion gallons of effluent has flowed through this River Valley,” said Lance Rogers with Citizens Against Sewage.
With decades of sewage spill setbacks from Mexico into San Diego County beaches, leaders want change from California politicians.
“Enough is enough. The government needs to step up to the plate, the EPA and IBWC, because this, this is unacceptable,” said Border Patrol Union Representative, Christopher Harris.
The flesh eating bacteria caused Willey to have seizures, surgeries, PTSD and the possibility that he’d have his arm amputated. An avid surfer, he grew up in the South Bay but said he’ll never surf there again due to constant contamination.