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Navy SEAL candidate's Coronado death was preventable, mother says

Kyle Mullen
Courtesy of the Department of Defense
Kyle Mullen, 24, is seen in this undated photo. Mullen died on Feb. 4, shortly after completing Hell Week training.

A military autopsy has revealed that a Navy SEAL candidate died of pneumonia on Coronado Island after he finished the part of training known as Hell Week.

The autopsy found that Kyle Mullen spit up enough blood to fill a 36-ounce sports drink bottle before he was finally rushed to the hospital in early February.

His mother, Regina Mullen, who is also a nurse, believes his death was avoidable.

“You know he was medically compromised,” she said. “The medical team, the instructors, the lieutenant commander, they all had to have known. You see the guy spitting up blood. You set them to the barracks. You sent the medical team home, and you let them die.”

According to the autopsy report written by U.S. Army Regional Medical Examiner Wendy Warren, Mullen was sent back to the barracks after completing Hell Week, where candidates are in near-constant motion for five days, submerged in the ocean and performing strenuous exercise until some begin to hallucinate.

Once Mullen returned to the barracks, he was supervised by nonmedical personnel, according to the report. He was in a wheelchair most of the time. Another candidate who could not breath eventually called for help. When the medical team arrived, they found Mullen unresponsive. They tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The SEALs say the Navy will not comment on an ongoing investigation into Mullen’s death. A separate Navy criminal investigation is also underway.