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Sailor dies in non-combat incident in Red Sea

USS Jason Dunham in 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deven B. King/Released)

A Navy sailor was killed in a non-combat incident while conducting small-boat operations in the Red Sea, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

The sailor was evacuated Sunday to a hospital in Aqaba, Jordan, and was pronounced dead about 12:45 p.m. local time, said Army Col. Rob Manning, a spokesman for the Pentagon. The sailor’s name was not immediately released, pending family notification. [The sailor has since been identified as Ensign Sarah Mitchell, 23.]

Manning said there was no indication of enemy activity in the area and the Navy did not suspect foul play in the death. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to the Navy.

Another Pentagon spokesman characterized the sailor’s death as “an accident.” Small-boat operations typically include the use of small, fast vessels – often motor-driven inflatable crafts – to carry personnel from warships to the coastline or near it.

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The sailor was assigned to the USS Jason Dunham, an Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer based at Norfolk in Virginia. The ship is deployed to the Navy’s 5 th Fleet, which conducts operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility throughout the Middle East and western Asia.

The Dunham deployed in June, according to the Navy.

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