Deaths of two Rota-based sailors under investigation
January 3, 2005
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — The Navy is investigating the deaths of two Rota, Spain-based sailors who died in separate incidents on New Year’s Day, base officials announced Sunday.
A male second-class petty officer died after falling unconscious while in El Puerto de Santa Maria with his wife and friends, according to a naval station news release.
The town, about a 20-minute drive from the Navy base, is popular for its restaurants and bars.
The sailor’s wife and friends took him immediately to the base hospital after he lost consciousness, but a medical team couldn’t revive him and pronounced him dead at 2:42 a.m.
Less than six hours later, another male second-class petty officer died in a single vehicle traffic accident in Rota on a two-lane road near the Navy base.
There were no passengers in the vehicle.
Base spokesman Chief Petty Officer Dan Smithyman said he could not provide further information Sunday because the incidents are under investigation.
Names of the victims will be released after next of kin are notified, he said.
In an unrelated incident, two cars carrying Americans stationed at the naval base were involved in a head-on collision outside the base in El Puerto de Santa Maria around 5 p.m. on Dec. 30, the Navy said.
The crash involved a female second-class petty officer from Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two traveling alone in her car and a second-class petty officer and his wife in the other vehicle, the release said.
The female sailor remains in stable condition at the base hospital with minor injuries.
The male sailor suffered a broken pelvis and femur and is recovering from surgery.
His wife is listed in “serious, but stable condition,” according to the release. Both are being treated at a Spanish hospital.
The accidents come after an aggressive campaign by base commanders and safety officials to encourage sailors and their families to be careful over the holidays.
Before Christmas, the base held a mandatory “safety stand-down” with all commands.