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Sailor dies in NAS Whidbey accident

"A 19-year-old Whidbey sailor was killed in an accident on base Wednesday.Huong-Thiquoc Nquen, an airman apprentice with Whidbey Island Naval Air Station's VAQ-129 squadron, was crushed after the tow tractor she was driving became wedged underneath an EA-6B Prowler. The jet was parked and turned off at the time.Nquen was pinned underneath the plane and pronounced dead at the scene, according to NAS Whidbey spokeswoman Sarah McGruder.The Navy is currently investigating the accident but no cause had been determined yet, said Lt. Cmdr. David Brown, executive officer for VQ-129. Right now, we just have no idea what happened, Brown said. We're concerned and confused. How did the tow tractor she was driving get to where it was? We're not sure, and it would be unfair to speculate whether it was mechanical or human error at this point.Brown characterized the accident as, very unusual, noting that VAQ-129, a Prowler training squadron with a busy operational tempo, had accrued more than 5,000 flight hours without a mishap this year. We have six-to-10 times the op tempo of a normal squadron, Brown said. We launch and recover over 20 jets a day, five days a week.McGruder said it was the first fatality on base since a civilian worker was pinned under a truck at the base public works facility in 1995.Nquen, who was from Chicago, had been in the Navy since 1999. She was unmarried and had no children. She was a very well-liked individual, Brown said. She was friends with everyone in the line shack, very interested in the command and a hard worker. And she always had a smile on her face. The whole squadron is pretty torn up.Memorial services were held for Airman Apprentice Huong-Thiquoc Nquen at NAS Whidbey's chapel Friday."

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