Training mishap off Southern California leaves one Marine dead, 8 service members missing

Camp Pendleton, California — At least one Marine was killed and two hurt in an amphibious assault vehicle accident off Southern California that also left eight service members missing Thursday, the Marines say. Five other service members in the AAV at the time were rescued.

A search was on for the missing service members.

At about 5:45 p.m. PST, Marines in the AAV on a routine training exercise reported that it was taking on water off San Clemente Island.

The service member whose live was lost was with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), I Marine Expeditionary Force and was pronounced dead at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

One of the injured Marines was listed in critical condition and the other in stable condition in area hospitals.

All but one of the 15 service members in the AAV were Marines. The other was a sailor.

The name of the deceased Marine was being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified.

“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, the commanding officer of the 15th MEU.

The search and rescue operation was being conducted by the USS John Finn, three U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopters and multiple small boats from the USS Makin Island, USS Somerset, and USS San Diego, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forrest Rednour and a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector San Diego.

The incident was under investigation.

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