LOS ANGELES - Search and rescue efforts were underway Friday after one Marine died and eight other service members remain missing after what officials described as a training exercise mishap off the Southern California Coast, where the vehicle sank after taking on water. Two service members were also injured in the incident.
The training exercise occurred on an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Thursday evening.
According to USMC authorities, fifteen Marines and one Sailor were inside the AAV when the incident occurred.
One Marine was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla where he was pronounced dead, Lt. Tuthill said. Their name has not been released and their name will be withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.
Amongst the eight Marines who have been recovered, two were taken to local hospitals. As of Friday afternoon, one was listed in critical condition and the other was in stable condition, Lt. Tuthill said. Five of the eight Marines rescued are back aboard their assigned ship. There are still seven Marines and one Sailor still missing, and search and rescue efforts are ongoing to find them.
In a press conference on Friday, officials have directed an immediate suspension of AAV water operations until the factors of this mishap has been better understood. All AAVs across the fleet will be inspected.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search," said Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU Commanding Officer in a tweet posted to the Marine Expeditionary Force account.
The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard are assisting with search efforts.