Marine Corps ‘Mishap’ Off Coast Leaves 1 Dead, 8 Missing
At least one Marine was killed Thursday and eight other service members continued to be missing Friday after an amphibious assault vehicle “mishap” off the coast of Southern California, the I Marine Expeditionary Force confirmed Friday morning.
At Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said seven Marines and one sailor remain missing off the coast. Berger ordered an immediate suspension of amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) from training at sea.
The 26-ton Marine Corps AAV sank while returning to a warship at sea from San Clemente Island late Thursday afternoon. Search and rescue operations continued into Friday evening.
Two other service members were injured in the incident, officials said in a Twitter message.
1 Marine has died, 8 service members remain missing and 2 were injured after an AAV mishap July 30 off the coast of Southern California. All are assigned to the 15th MEU. Search and rescue efforts are still underway with support from the Navy and Coast Guard.
— I MEF (@1stMEF) July 31, 2020
The Navy and Coast Guard are conducting a joint search-and-rescue operation for the missing service members, all assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, headquartered at Camp Pendleton near San Diego.
The Coast Guard cutter, four warships and four helicopters continued their search for more than 10 hours, but so far the Marines have not been found.
The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group were taking part in the training exercise where the accident occurred
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) July 31, 2020
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident,” Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU Commanding Officer, said in a statement. “I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search.”
Amphibious assault vehicles are armored and able to move from water to land.
Marines in the AAV reported that the vehicle began to take on water during a routine exercise around 5:45 p.m. Thursday.