The Navy has located a seafaring tank that sank off the Southern California coast last week using a remote controlled submersible which found the wreck and it now working to recover human remains by the end of the week.
The Navy planned to place equipment near the amphibious assault vehicle that is under 385ft of water by the end of the week in order to begin the recovery of the remains. After that process is complete, it will raise the amphibious vehicle.
Seven Marines and one Navy sailor were missing after the 26-ton landing craft sank on Thursday.
The AAV was one of three Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles making the journey back to the ship when they suddenly hit rough seas and began taking on more water than could be pumped back out.
Undersea Rescue Command deploys the Sibitzky Remotely Operated Vehicle from the deck of the Military Sealift Command-chartered merchant vessel HOS Dominator in the Pacific Ocean, during recovery efforts for the missing seven Marines and one sailor from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The remote vechicle was able to locate the missing amphibious assault vehicle with human remains aboard some 385ft below the surface of the water on the sea bed
Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are pictured operate the assault amphibious vehicle last Monday. Three days before the accident
The Navy has located a seafaring tank that sank off the Southern California coast last week and is now working to recover human remains, officials said on Tuesday
An announcement was made by the Marine Expeditionary Force on Tuesday that the search team had manage to find the amphibious assault vehicle
Another Marine was pronounced dead at the scene and seven others were rescued. Two remain hospitalized with injuries. The military ended rescue efforts on Sunday.
The troops had completed routine training on a nearby beach and were heading back to a Navy ship when the craft sank less than a mile from San Clemente Island off the coast of San Diego.
Shortly after taking on water the vehicle ‘rapidly sank’ with all 16 service members still onboard according to the Marine Corps Times.
It was the AAV filling up with more water than it could pump out sending it to the sea floor, Commandant Gen. David Berger said.
Other assault vehicles quickly responded but couldn’t stop the 26-ton, tank-like vehicle from quickly sinking.
The vehicle took on water at around 5.45pm while 15 Marines and one sailor were inside near San Clemente Island in Los Angeles County. 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is seen training
Eight Marines were able to escape the drowning vehicle, but one, Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead shortly after being returned to the amphibious transport dock Somerset.
The U.S. Navy’s Undersea Rescue Command said the human remains were seen aboard the craft using remotely operated video systems from the merchant vessel HOS Dominator, a ship specializing in undersea search and rescue.
President Donald Trump expressed his condolences in a tweet Tuesday: ‘I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of eight Marines and one Sailor during a training exercise off the coast of California. Our prayers are with their families. I thank them for the brave service their loved ones gave to our Nation. #SemperFidelis.’
There are about 800 AAV’s in the Marin’e inventory that can carry up to 21 people and each weighs 26 tons. All waterborne operations of the vehicle have been suspended
The commandant of the Marine Corps has suspended all waterborne operations of its more than 800 amphibious assault vehicles until the cause of the accident is determined.
All of the Marines aboard were attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at nearby Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, the largest Marine base on the West Coast of the United States, between Orange and San Diego counties.
The troops were wearing full combat gear and flotation devices at the time of the disaster.
The incident occurred during what the Marine Corps said was a routine training exercise near San Clemente Island. Marines often practice beach assaults there using amphibious troop transport vehicles.
Only one of the victim’s bodies was recovered: Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of Texas, who was pronounced dead at the scene
Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Oregon (left) and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of California (right), are also presumed dead
The oldest victim of the incident was revealed to be 23-year-old Cpl. Wesley Rodd of Texas. He recently became a father, family members revealed
Victim Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, is shown left. One sailor, US Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of California (right), is also believed to have died
The Marines and sailor that are presumed dead are Privates Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of California, Evan Bath, 19, of Wisconsin, and Lance Corporal Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Oregon who have been identified as the youngest of the victims.
Their fellow Marines Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of California, Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Oregon, Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Texas, and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of California, are also presumed dead.
One sailor, US Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of California, is also believed to have died.
The vehicle, nicknamed an ‘amtrac’ – short for amphibious tractor – was designed to be buoyant and had three water-tight hatches and two large troop hatches. The Marines use the vehicles to transport troops and equipment from Navy ships to land.
The vehicles have been used since 1972 and continually refurbished. The accident was one of the deadliest involving such a vehicle.