A Navy SEAL candidate died of acute pneumonia, with an enlarged heart as a contributing factor, hours after completing the elite force's punishing Hell Week training, according to a Navy report on the sailor's death. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
Oct. 12 (UPI) -- A Navy SEAL candidate died of acute pneumonia, with an enlarged heart as a contributing factor, hours after completing the elite force's punishing Hell Week training, according to a Navy report on the sailor's death.
The report found that Kyle Mullen, who was training at Navy Amphibious Base Cornoado in California in February, died in the line of duty and not due to his own misconduct.
"Our deepest sympathy extends to Seaman Mullen's family and friends during this difficult time," said the commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Keith Davids said.
Mullen's death has resulted in changes to the Navy's leadership. According to The New York Times, the Navy took administrative action against the top two officers at the SEAL training base in Coronado, as well as the doctor in charge of medical care there.
Medical staff members told Navy criminal investigators that Mullen had died a after brief medical exam that found no issues.
Other SEAL candidates said Mullen was wheezing and coughing up large amounts of brown fluid. One student said that he tried to take Mullen to get help, but an instructor told him to turn around and go back to training.
By the last day of Hell Week, Mullen's body was was so swollen that one sailor said he looked "like the Michelin Man." The oxygen in his blood had reached dangerously low levels.
Mullen died a few hours later.
"Kyle's death will not be in vain." Davids said. "We have a moral obligation to learn everything we can from Kyle's tragic death so that we can ensure the safety of all future candidates."