Lincoln Sailor Reported Overboard in the Arabian Sea Declared Dead by Navy

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana. (U.S. Navy photo)
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana. (U.S. Navy photo)

The Navy has declared a sailor who went missing from an aircraft carrier operating in the Middle East earlier this month as deceased, an official confirmed to

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana is no longer listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown, a Navy official said Tuesday. Saldana went missing July 17, when he was believed to have gone overboard from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

Ships from the U.S., Spain and Pakistan searched for Saldana for days, but he was never found. The Navy called off the search July 19 after what officials said was an extensive effort to find him.

His updated status was first reported by Task and Purpose on Monday.

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Saldana was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5, a Virginia-based MH-60S Sea Hawk squadron that's deployed with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group. The strike group has been in the region to deter Iran amid ongoing threats.

Saldana was on his first deployment. He enlisted in the Navy in 2015.

His father, who lives in Texas, told a San Antonio NBC affiliate that his family still has questions about the circumstances that led to Saldana's disappearance.

"I just can't see him doing anything to harm himself or harm his family in any way," Richard Saldana told the station. "... Maybe a smaller boat could have picked him up. He was resourceful and intelligent, so there's a lot of unanswered questions in my eyes."

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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