A Navy man died during a mishap on Naval Air Station North Island last week, the Navy confirmed.
The Navy identified the victim of the July 30th incident as Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Richard Clement.
Clement and another unidentified helicopter crew member were conducting training when an auxiliary fuel tank came off an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter, striking the two.
PO1 Clement was taken by the federal fire department to the closest trauma center, UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, where he was pronounced dead 24 hours after the incident on July 31st, according to Naval Air Forces Spokesman Ron Flanders.
Flanders tells NBC 7, “The entire North Island community is grieving,” adding that his family flew into San Diego from Florida to be at the hospital with their son before he was pronounced dead.
Both sailors involved in the incident were assigned to the “Firehawks” of North Island-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85. The unidentified crew member suffered minor injuries.
The training involved quickly refueling the helicopter without shutting down the engine referred to as hot pit, hot seat training, according to the Navy.
Clement had served with the “Merlins” of San Diego-based Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 also based at NAS North Island and the “Golden Falcons” of HSC-12 in Japan. His decorations included four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Flanders said an extensive investigation into the deadly mishap is underway.