The search continued Saturday for seven Marines and a Navy sailor who went missing in the ocean about 80 miles off the coast of Encinitas when an amphibious assault vehicle sank during a training exercise, killing at least one member of the crew, a Camp Pendleton Marine.
Two crew members were injured in the accident.
Fifteen Marines and one Navy sailor were aboard the vehicle, which began taking on water during a training exercise around 5:45 p.m. Thursday near San Clemente Island, roughly 78 miles off the coast of San Diego, according to Camp Pendleton officials.
Eight Marines were rescued, including one who was pronounced dead at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, officials said. Two of the Marines were were admitted in critical but stable condition.
Marine Corps officials said Friday that they continued to view the around-the-clock effort to find the missing personnel as a prospective rescue operation, according to Gen. David Berger, USMC commandant.
“We have not moved into a recovery operation,” Berger told reporters during a mid-afternoon briefing at Camp Pendleton, the home base of the missing and recovered personnel.
All the Marines involved were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based at Camp Pendleton.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, the commanding officer of the 15th MEU. “I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search.”
A massive sea and air search was underway Friday for the missing Marines. The Navy’s USS John Finn, three Navy helicopters, several smaller Navy vessels, a U.S. Coast Guard ship and a helicopter from Coast Guard Sector San Diego were searching the area.
The accident was under investigation.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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