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Navy SEAL Candidate Dies After Taking Part In ‘Hell Week’ Training

Jess Hardiman

Published 
| Last updated 

Navy SEAL Candidate Dies After Taking Part In ‘Hell Week’ Training

A Navy SEAL candidate who had taken part in what’s known as ‘Hell Week’ has died after falling ill, Fox News reports. 

The candidate had been at the end of the first phase of BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition) training in Southern California when they fell ill, and was taken to Sharp Coronado Hospital for treatment. 

The trainee has not been identified. 

According to the Navy, a cause of death was not immediately known. 

Another candidate taking part in the same training exercises was also hospitalised, but remains in a stable condition at Naval Medical Center San Diego. 

Stock image. Credit: Alamy
Stock image. Credit: Alamy

In a statement, Naval Special Warfare Command confirmed the death is under investigation, saying two SEAL candidates 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’. 

The statement added: “One candidate died at Sharp Coronado Hospital in Coronado, California, on Feb. 4. The other candidate is in stable condition at Naval Medical Center San Diego.” 

Naval Special Warfare Command said the candidates were not ‘actively’ training when they became unwell. 

According to NavySeals.com, Hell Week is the ‘defining event’ of BUD/S training, and involves five-and-a-half days of ‘cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep’. 

“Hell Week tests physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation,” the website explains. 

“Above all, it tests determination and desire. On average, only 25% of SEAL candidates make it through Hell Week, the toughest training in the U.S. Military.” 

Stock image. Credit: Alamy
Stock image. Credit: Alamy

It continues: "Trainees are constantly in motion; running, swimming, paddling, carrying boats on their heads, doing log PT, sit-ups, push-ups, rolling in the sand, slogging through mud, paddling boats and doing surf passage. Being still can be just as challenging, when you’re standing interminably in formation, soaking wet on the beach, or up to your waist in the water, with the cold ocean wind cutting through you.

"Mud covers uniforms, hands, faces – everything but the eyes. The sand chafes raw skin and the salt water makes cuts burn. Students perform evolutions that require them to think, lead, make sound decisions, and functionally operate when they are extremely sleep-deprived, approaching hypothermia, and even hallucinating."

Congressman Scott Peters, who serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, said in a statement: "My prayers are with the family and loved ones of the deceased during this very difficult time, and I wish for a full recovery of the other candidate reported injured yesterday. 

"These courageous, talented sailors were on their way to becoming some of our country’s most elite military personnel. We must find out what transpired so we can do whatever we can to keep others safe. In the days and weeks ahead, I look forward to learning more as the Navy conducts a thorough investigation." 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: US News

Jess Hardiman
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