WASHINGTON, April 22 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Navy has begun an investigation after three sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington were recently found dead.
The suspected suicide deaths occurred on April 9, 10, and 15, according to multiple U.S. media reports.
The USS George Washington has been docked at Newport News Shipbuilding in the eastern state of Virginia for a major overhaul since August 2017.
The process includes a replacement of the vessel's nuclear fuel and upgrades for future use.
A Pentagon spokesperson told reporters earlier this week that the Navy was "investigating these deaths."
"I don't believe that they are aware of any indications that they are related," the spokesperson said. "That's what they believe right now."
A total of seven USS George Washington crew members have reportedly died in the past ten months, including the three recent deaths.
Suicide rates among active duty service members in the U.S. military increased by 41.4 percent from 2015 to 2020, according to official data.
Some 580 members of the U.S. military, including 384 active duty service members, died by suicide in 2020.