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1 Marine dead and 8 others missing after amphibious vehicle accident

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(CNN) At least one US Marine is dead and eight others are missing after a training accident involving an amphibious vehicle off the coast of Southern California.

Search and rescue efforts are still underway Friday morning for the eight missing individuals with support from the Navy and Coast Guard.


At least two others were injured in the accident, which occurred Thursday, and have been transported to Southern California hospitals, according to a news release from the US Marine Corps 1st Expeditionary Force.


One is in critical condition and the other is stable, according to the Marines.


The incident occurred during a 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group routine training exercise in the vicinity of San Clemente Island, according to the Marines.


The incident began around 5:45 p.m. local time on Thursday when Marines in an amphibious assault vehicle, or AAV, reported they were taking on water. Sixteen people were inside the vehicle at the time of the accident. Eight people have been recovered.


All of the service members in the incident are assigned to the 15th MEU based out of 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."


The name of the Marine killed will be withheld until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified. The incident is under investigation.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Damn. 

 

Those hulls are ancient. Fully loaded, they're not going to have much reserve buoyancy if the hull springs a leak.

 

Edited to correct an error in my memory. This vehicle postdates the Vietnam War ... but they're still pretty old.

Edited by BrianBM

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Posted (edited) · Report post

23 mins ago, BrianBM said:

Damn. 

 

Those hulls are ancient.  Fully loaded, they're not going to have much reserve buoyancy if the hull springs a leak.

 

And just based on what I've read on the interwebs...It seems they might be frequently overloaded.

 

 

We’re piled on top of each other 15, sometimes 20, at a time, in a vehicle built for 12. Our weapons and gear double our volume. Once in, we can’t move.

 

It’s just as difficult to breathe. The diesel fumes fill the unseen space inside the cabin.

 

This is what it’s like to ride inside an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV), a machine that’s built to take a squad of Marines from sea to shore...

 

 https://thewarhorse.org/one-marines-narrow-escape-from-a-military-training-death/

Edited by BrianBM

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Interesting article. It doesn't appear to be a for-profit site, so the link's OK under house rules.

 

The Marines recently signed a contract for a new amphibious assault vehicle, a wheeled vehicle as opposed to one with caterpillar tracking, but I don't know if they've taken any deliveries yet.

 

Anyone around who knows stuff from experience?

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I was a crew chief on one of the original LVTP-7 (amtracs) for 4 years. They had many issues back in the first few years, I would have thought they worked them all out after 45 years. We lost some due to operator error in the water but others to hydraulic and hull issues which when failed, you sank like a rock.   Crew of three and 21 combat ready marines is what it was designed for, but we never transported more that 12 to 15 during water ops. 

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Eight missing service members presumed dead after amphibious vehicle accident off Calif. coast

Eight service members are presumed dead, the Marine Corps said Sunday, as it called off a search and rescue operation three days after an accident off the coast of southern California.

 

Nine service members total – including the seven missing Marines, one missing sailor and one other Marine – died in the Thursday mishap that involved an assault amphibious vehicle taking on water and eventually sinking during training more than a half-mile from San Clemente Island, the Marines said.

 

“It is with a heavy heart, that I decided to conclude the search and rescue effort,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit commander. “The steadfast dedication of the Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen to the persistent rescue effort was tremendous.”

 

All next-of-kin have been informed, the Marines said. The Defense Department has not yet named the Marines involved. The Marines said efforts still are under way to recover the bodies of the troops.

All 15 Marines aboard the vehicle at the time were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

 

The 15th MEU is based at Camp Pendleton.

Search and rescue efforts were supported the Navy and Coast Guard. The assault amphibious vehicle was operating in several hundred feet of water, which is too deep for divers, the Marines said Friday.

 

“Basically the adjacent assault amphibious vehicles watched it go down and, as I said, 26 tons … the assumption is it went all the way to the bottom,” Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, the outgoing commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, said at a Camp Pendleton news conference Friday.

 

Gen. David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, during the news briefing said he had directed the immediate suspension of water operations for all assault amphibious vehicles as a precaution until they determine what caused Thursday’s accident.

 

Berger also said every assault amphibious vehicle in the fleet was going to be inspected. Osterman said the Marines have more than 800 assault amphibious vehicles.

 

Assault ambitious vehicles are used for storming beaches and have been integral to Marine Corps missions since world War II. The current version of the vehicle is nearly 50 years old, but has had upgrades over the years. It was supposed to be replaced with a more modern vehicle about a decade ago, plans were canceled because of budget constraints.

 

The Marines who were aboard the vehicle when it sank were wearing their normal combat gear, which includes body armor, because of the training that they were doing on the island. They were also wearing flotation vests, according to Osterman. Some of the Marines were rescued because they were floating.

 

San Clemente Island is about 70 miles west of San Diego and hosts communications equipment overseen by the Navy for managing air space, ranges and operating areas, according to the official website for Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, San Diego. There are more than a dozen ranges and operational areas within a 60-mile radius of the island, according to the website.

 

A Marine Expeditionary Unit is comprised of about 2,200 Marines and sailors and broken out into four elements. Its Ground Combat Element has about 1,200 and includes a battalion landing team that consists of light armored reconnaissance vehicles, artillery and assault amphibian vehicles, according to the 15th MEU official website.

 

 

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