Navy SEAL candidate dies during ‘Hell Week’
A Navy SEAL candidate died on Friday while a second was hospitalized after both completed a week-long military training phase dubbed “Hell Week,” due to its harsh exercises.
The Navy published a statement on Sunday, announcing that 24-year-old Navy SEAL candidate Kyle Mullen had died at a California hospital after training. Another candidate was injured and is said to be in a “stable condition” at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
According to the Naval Special Warfare statement, the two sailors were taken to hospital “several hours after their Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) class successfully completed Hell Week, part of the first phase of the Navy SEAL assessment and selection pathway.”
It is understood that neither the deceased nor the injured candidate were actively training at the time they complained about symptoms and were taken to hospital. The exact cause of the man’s death remains unclear and is currently under investigation.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to Seaman Mullen’s family for their loss… We are extending every form of support we can to the Mullen family and Kyle’s... classmates,” stated Rear Admiral H.W. Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, as quoted by CNN.
During the BUD/S five-day-long training stage, known as “Hell Week,” special force candidates take part in intense exercises, while being largely deprived of sleep and nutrition. According to the US media, deaths and injuries during this phase of training have occurred before, although the exact number of fatalities remains unclear.
According to NBC News, which initially reported the case, as many as 17 Navy SEALs who participated in “Hell Week” have died due to training accidents in the past 20 years. The Navy itself estimates that only about one in five candidates successfully passes the course, which turns out between 200 and 250 SEALs each year.