The occurrence of sudden failures has been reported for 980 nm SL SQW InGaAs pump lasers. The post-mortem analysis reveals failure modes that are consistent with the formation of defects at the active area. The problem calls for two separate efforts: monitoring the degradation at suitable time resolution and structural characterization of defects. This article reports about the optical power and overall voltage monitoring results during a constant current lifetest, in which "sudden failures" switched off the lasers in a few hours, after 1500 hours of regular life, and about their interpretation based on TEM cross-sectional images across an EBIC-detected high recombination site. The hypothesis that Recombination Enhanced Defect Reaction (REDR) is a suitable mechanism for defect growth in forward biased GaAs-based diodes is proposed and discussed that REDR is the origin of the observed sudden failures, starting from native defects located in "cool" regions.