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Navy sailor dies after getting struck by helicopter blade

By
Ray Downs
Lt. James A. Mazzuchelli was a flight surgeon who had been enlisted since 2010. Photo by U.S. Navy
Lt. James A. Mazzuchelli was a flight surgeon who had been enlisted since 2010. Photo by U.S. Navy

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A 32-year-old U.S. Navy sailor died Saturday after getting hit by a spinning helicopter blade in Camp Pendleton, officials confirmed.

Military officials said Lt. James A. Mazzuchelli, a fight surgeon, was struck by a helicopter blade on Wednesday at the Marine Corps Air Base in Oceanside, Calif. and died from his injuries three days later.

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An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

"Lt. James Mazzuchelli was an incredibly talented physician and Sailor," Col. Matthew Mowery, commanding officer of MAG-39, said in a statement. "His contagious enthusiasm, motivation, and love for the Marines and Sailors of HMLA-267 and MAG-39 has been evident in the outpouring of grief at his loss and the support being shown to his family and close friends."

Originally from Orange Park, Fla., Mazzuchelli had been commissioned in the Navy since 2010.

Mazzuchelli's death comes less than six months after 15 Marines were injured when a vehicle caught fire during a training exercise in September.

Naval Safety Center data shows that there has been a 60 percent increase in ground and aviation accidents during on-duty training exercises since 2014, the Orange Country Register reported.

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