A sailor who died early Saturday morning from a fall as he was boarding the USS Nimitz has been identified as Juan Jose Garcia-Herrera, a 21-year-old logistics specialist seaman from Chicago.

Garcia-Herrera died of injuries suffered due to an accidental fall from Nimitz’s aircraft elevator, the Navy’s public affairs office said in a statement released Sunday.

The aircraft carrier’s home port is Bremerton but it was stationed near San Diego, California at the time of the accident. Sailors were at the Naval Air Station North Island for routine training operations, said Bill Petkovski, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the USS Nimitz.

At around 9 p.m. Friday, Garcia-Herrera fell several stories onto the pier from the ship’s aircraft elevator, which had been lowered and connected to a walkway used to board and exit the ship. Paramedics took him to a nearby hospital, but he died from his injuries around 2 a.m. on Saturday.

This type of accident is not common for the ship, Petkovski said.

“That’s one of the things that’s so stunning about it,” Petkovski said. “Our prayers are with the sailor’s family. It’s a tough situation for the command, and for his family.” 


It’s possible that the sailor may have fallen off one of the elevator’s edges as he stepped down from the walkway. The Navy is still investigating the cause of the accident.

Garcia-Herrera completed logistics specialist training before reporting aboard Nimitz in June 2017. He deployed aboard Nimitz in support of Operation Inherent Resolve later that year, the Navy said in a news release Sunday.

Note: This story was updated on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, with the identity of the sailor who died.