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Navy investigating several suicides among crew of USS George Washington

3 sailors on same ship die by apparent suicide
3 USS George Washington sailors die by apparent suicide 00:36

The U.S. Navy has begun an investigation after a rash of suicide deaths among sailors on the crew of the USS George Washington. Three sailors died within one week of each other, the Navy confirmed to CBS News. The investigation will aim to determine if there were any underlying causes that led crew members to take their own lives.

Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mikail Sharp and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman were found dead on April 9 and 10 at separate sites away from the aircraft carrier. 

The third sailor, Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell-Sandor, was found unresponsive aboard the ship on April 15, and was transported to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Virginia, where he died. 

Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to CBS News that all three deaths were determined to be suicides.

The USS George Washington since 2017 has been docked at Newport News Shipbuilding for a major overhaul. It is operating with a diminished crew of about 2,500.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington in a file photo, May 18, 2015.  TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images

According to a Navy official, a total of seven USS George Washington crew members have died in the past ten months, including the three recent deaths. The official said some, but not all, of the additional four deaths were also suicides. 

This isn't the first time that a series of suicides have been reported in similar circumstances. In 2019, three sailors aboard the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier died by suicide in one week as it underwent an overhaul. 

Service members and veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a service member or veteran in crisis, can call the Military Crisis Line/Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or text 838255 or chat online at

–David Martin and Eleanor Watson contributed reporting. Editor's note: An earlier version of this story showed an incorrect photo; it has been updated with a photo of the USS George Washington.

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