Naval Special Warfare Sailor Dead After Helicopter Landing

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U.S. Navy SEALs drop into the ocean from an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter.
U.S. Navy SEALs drop into the ocean from an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 84 "The Red Wolves" during a capabilities exercise at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, July 17, 2010. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary L. Johnson III/U.S. Navy photo)

A sailor assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit has died following a helicopter landing, the Navy announced in a statement Tuesday.

The sailor died Monday at 12:35 p.m. at a local hospital "after sustaining injuries after a helicopter landing incident during joint training at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on May 5," the Navy said.

WTKR, a local TV station, reported May 5 that an aircraft experienced a hard landing at the base and that three people were reportedly sent to the hospital.

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This is the second Naval Special Warfare death the service has disclosed in the last seven months. In December, Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, who was commanding officer of SEAL Team 8, was injured in "a fast-rope training evolution" in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and died three days later.

Training deaths among Navy special operators are uncommon, but there have been more than 20 fatalities among SEALs since 2001, according to records kept by the Navy SEAL Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports families and veterans of the program.  

In February, the Navy said Seaman Kyle Mullen, a SEAL trainee, died hours after completing the torturous "Hell Week" test. According to the Navy, he and another SEAL trainee reported experiencing symptoms of an unknown illness.

It is not clear whether the sailor in the most recent incident was a special operator or a sailor assigned to a SEAL unit to provide support.

The Navy declined to release the name of the sailor who died Monday until family can be notified.

"The cause of the incident and tragic loss of a teammate remains under investigation," the statement added.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin. 

Related: Navy Identifies SEAL Trainee Who Died After Hell Week

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