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Report: NASA could have prevented astronaut's close call, misdiagnosed previous helmet leakage

In this Tuesday, July 16, 2013 image from video made available by NASA, astronaut Karen Nyberg assists astronaut Luca Parmitano remove his space suit after an aborted spacewalk aboard the International Space Station. A final report issued Wedesday, Feb. 26, 2014 by NASA says it could have prevented the near-drowning of the spacewalking astronaut. According to the report, Parmitano's helmet had also leaked one week earlier at the end of his first spacewalk. The report says the space station team misdiagnosed the first failure and should have delayed the second spacewalk until the problem was understood. (AP Photo/NASA)

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In this Tuesday, July 16, 2013 image from video made available by NASA, astronaut Karen Nyberg assists astronaut Luca Parmitano remove his space suit after an aborted spacewalk aboard the International Space Station. A final report issued Wedesday, Feb. 26, 2014 by NASA says it could have prevented the near-drowning of the spacewalking astronaut. According to the report, Parmitano's helmet had also leaked one week earlier at the end of his first spacewalk. The report says the space station team misdiagnosed the first failure and should have delayed the second spacewalk until the problem was understood. (AP Photo/NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA could have prevented last summer's near-drowning of a spacewalking astronaut.

That's the conclusion of an investigation board created by NASA in the wake of last July's close call outside the International Space Station.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned when his helmet filled with water on July 16. He barely made it back inside alive.

But according to the report, his helmet had also leaked one week earlier at the end of his first spacewalk. The report says the space station team misdiagnosed the first failure and should have delayed the second spacewalk until the problem was understood.

They say Parmitano's "calm demeanour" during the event quite possibly saved his life.

The board led by NASA's chief space station engineer issued its final report Wednesday.

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