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Sonar Tech Killed in Electrocution Accident Aboard U.S. Navy Sub

USS Helena at Diego Garcia, 2013 (USN file image)
USS Helena at Diego Garcia, 2013 (USN file image)

Published Jun 11, 2024 3:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

A technician assigned to a nuclear-powered attack submarine was found dead last month, killed by a tragic accident. The U.S. Navy is investigating the circumstances and believes that the cause was electrocution. 

On May 24, Sonar Technician 3rd Class Timothy Sanders died aboard the submarine USS Helena while the vessel was in port at Naval Station Norfolk. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is investigating the accident. 

"We deeply mourn the loss of our shipmate, and our thoughts and prayers are with the sailor’s family, friends and coworkers during this difficult time. Grief counseling services and support are being provided through the chain of command and local chaplain resources," the Navy said in a statement. 

Sanders, 22, had been in the Navy for four years. He recently re-enlisted and was planning to relocate to Washington, with aspirations of working his way up the ranks and eventually making master chief. 

"He just had the kindest, most generous heart," his mother Nicole Sanders told local WEAR-TV. "He wanted to have a big family. He loved kids. He was all the grandkid's favorite uncle."

He is survived by his parents, four sisters and his fiancee, along with a large extended family. "Timmy was loved by all. He will be missed by all. His absence will leave our family forever incomplete," his relatives wrote in his obituary. 

USS Helena is a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, and is the fourth vessel in the Navy to carry the name. She was commissioned in 1987 and has operated worldwide. Helena is currently assigned to Submarine Squadron Six, based out of Norfolk.