San Diego – An amphibious assault vehicle that sank off the southern coast of California it is deep, well beyond the reach of divers and complicating rescue efforts for eight missing troops, military officials said Friday.
However, the commander of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. David Berger, said the search was continuing but that he was suspending aquatic operations of his more than 800 amphibious assault vehicles until the cause of the crash is determined. He noted that the measure was taken as a precaution.
Berger said the focus should now be on the troops and their families. One of eight rescued Marines died in a hospital in San Diego. Two Marines were still hospitalized with injuries but were stable and outside the intensive care unit.
A total of 16 troops – 15 Marines and a member of the Navy – were on board when the amphibious assault vehicle began to leak on Thursday night about 800 meters (half a mile) off the coast of San Island. Gracious.
They had just completed a routine training exercise and were returning to the Navy ship with a dozen other amphibious assault vehicles, said Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, the commanding general of the Navy Expeditionary Force.
Troops aboard two other amphibious assault units quickly arrived at the scene but were unable to prevent the 26-ton vehicle from sinking, Osterman said.
“It is a very tragic situation,” Osterman said.
On Friday, ships, small boats and military helicopters continued the search operation in rough seas amid moderate to strong winds.