The Navy reported that Seaman Kyle Mullen, a SEAL trainee, died in a San Diego hospital on Friday. He had been complaining of symptoms related to an unknown illness.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, another sailor was taken into hospital in stable condition.
Investigations are ongoing into the cause of the death. The test, which ends the first phase in assessment and selection for the elite Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL class (BUD/S), was completed by both men. They fell ill within hours.
According to the Navy, no one was involved in an accident or other unusual event during Hell Week's five-and-a half-day duration.
H.W. Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command Coronado (California), offered his condolences to Mullen's loved ones in a statement.
Howard stated that Howard and Kyle's BUD/S classmates are offering support to the Mullen family.
According to his Navy biography, Mullen joined Navy in March 2021. According to the Union-Tribune, he reported to SEAL training at Coronado in July.
The Hell Week test is part the BUD/S Class. It involves basic underwater demolition, survival, and other combat tactics. It is the fourth week of the SEAL candidate evaluations. They hope to be selected for training with the Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command.
The SEAL program assesses physical and psychological strength, leadership abilities, and water competency. It is so strenuous that between 50% and 60% of the candidates fail to make it to Hell Week.
In 2016, 21-year-old Seaman James Derek Lovelace, a SEAL candidate, was the last to die in the assessment phase. His instructor pulled him underwater twice while he was trying to walk in the water. He lost consciousness and eventually died.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner initially declared his death a homicide. After an investigation, the Navy decided not to pursue criminal charges for Lovelace's drowning. This was a year later. An autopsy showed that Lovelace had an increased heart, which contributed to his death. He also had an abnormal coronary vessel, which is often associated with sudden cardiac deaths, particularly in athletes.
The autopsy report did not indicate how much Lovelace's abnormalities in his heart contributed to his death.
This latest death comes two months after the death of a Navy SEAL Commander from injuries sustained during a Virginia training accident. Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois (43), fell while fast-roping from a helicopter. He died several days later.