Navy officials identified on Sunday the sailor killed by a spinning helicopter blade as 32-year-old Lt. James Mazzuchelli.
The sailor was a flight surgeon assigned to a helicopter squadron as part of Marine Aircraft Group 39. Mazzuchelli was stationed at Camp Pendleton in southern California. He was previously deployed in Japan.
Mazzuchelli is from Orange Park, Florida. He enlisted in the Navy in 2010, Los Angeles Times reported.
“Lt. James Mazzuchelli was an incredibly talented physician and Sailor,” Col. Matthew Mowery, the sailor’s commanding officer, told KGTV. “His contagious enthusiasm, motivation, and love for the Marines and Sailors of HMLA-267 and MAG-39 has been evident in the outpouring of grief at his loss and the support being shown to his family and close friends.”
“His willingness to join the Navy and elect to serve faithfully with the Marines should give a sense of pride to all of us who serve our country that we are surrounded by heroes every day,” Mowery added. “James and his contribution to our Corps will be sorely missed.”
Mazzuchelli was struck by the spinning blade from a UH-01Y Venom Marine helicopter at Camp Pendleton at 6:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, the Orange County Register reported. He died of his injuries at a hospital on Saturday morning.
No details about the incident have been released. The incident is under investigation.
“My heart goes out to our Sailor’s family as we support them through this difficult time,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The tragic death is the latest in a series of non-combat training accidents which killed or severely injured several Marines.
Though the rate of on-duty training-related accident fluctuates, the rate this year up 60 percent compared to 2014, according to the Naval Safety Center.
In the most recent fatal accident, three Marines died in a crash in the Philippine Sea on Nov. 22 last year.