AP

Marines halt search for 8 missing troops, all presumed dead

Aug 2, 2020, 9:51 AM

Marines halt search for 8 missing troops, all presumed dead...

FILE - The U.S. flag was lowered to half-staff at Park Semper Fi in San Clemente, Calif., on Friday, July 31, 2020. Eight troops aboard a landing craft that sank off the Southern California coast during a training exercise are presumed dead, the Marine Corps announced Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. The Marines said they had called off the search that started late Thursday afternoon when the amphibious assault vehicle sank with seven Marines and one sailor aboard. (Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP, file)

(Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP, file)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Eight troops missing after their landing craft sank off the Southern California coast during a training exercise are presumed dead, the Marine Corps announced Sunday.

The Marines said they had called off the search that started late Thursday afternoon when the amphibious assault vehicle sank with 15 Marines and one Navy sailor aboard. Eight Marines were rescued, but one later died and two are in critical condition.

The 26-ton, tank-like craft took on water and quickly sank in hundreds of feet of water — too deep for divers — making it difficult to reach.

“It is with as heavy heart that I decided to conclude the search and rescue effort,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

All of the Marines aboard were attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at nearby Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego. They ranged in age from 19 to early 30s and all were wearing combat gear, including body armor and flotation vests, according to Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The craft was one of 13 amphibious assault vehicles that had just completed an exercise. It was heading back to a Navy ship when it began taking on water about a half-mile from the Navy-owned island off San Diego.

Troops on board two other amphibious assault vehicles responded quickly but couldn’t stop the sinking, Osterman said at a Friday news conference.

Over the course of the search, dozens of helicopters and ships searched more than 1,000 square nautical miles (2,590 square kilometers) of sea.

Efforts will now turn to finding and recovering the service members and investigating the circumstances surrounding the sinking, officials said.

The names of the victims will be released 24 hours after their families are notified.

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 their equipment from Navy ships to land.

The vehicles have been used since 1972, and continually refurbished.

The Marine Corps commandant, Gen. David Berger, suspended waterborne operations of all of its more than 800 amphibious assault vehicles across the branch until the cause of the accident is determined. He said the move was out of “an abundance of caution.”

It was the deadliest of several accidents involving amtracs that have occurred during Camp Pendleton exercises in recent years.

In 2017, 14 Marines and one Navy sailor were hospitalized after their vehicle hit a natural gas line at the camp, igniting a fire that engulfed the landing craft.
And in 2011, a Marine died when an amphibious assault vehicle in a training exercise sank offshore of the camp.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

AP

A photo taken of Matthew Perry in 2022....

Clayre Scott

Criminal investigation opened in relation to Matthew Perry’s death

A criminal investigation has been opened in relation to Matthew Perry's death due to high levels of ketamine found in his blood.

2 days ago

FILE - The United Nations (UN) headquarters are pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Sept. 9, 2...

EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press

U.N. to vote on resolution that would grant Palestine new rights

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote Friday on a resolution that would grant new "rights and privileges" to Palestine.

14 days ago

President Joe Biden arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to attend a political fundraise...

ZEKE MILLER and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden says US won’t supply weapons for Israel to attack Rafah

Biden said the U.S. was still committed to Israel's defense, but that if Israel goes into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used."

15 days ago

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who just testified in the Trump hush money trial....

Associated Press

Adult film star testifies in Trump hush money case

Donald Trump's attorneys have unsuccessfully pushed for a mistrial during the testimony of porn actor Stormy Daniels. She was testifying at Trump's hush money criminal trial that she had a sexual encounter with Trump after meeting him at a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf outing where her studio was a sponsor.

16 days ago

This photo provided by NASA shows an Eta Aquarid meteor streaking over northern Georgia on April 29...

CHRISTINA LARSON, AP Science Writer

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, debris of Halley’s comet, peaks this weekend. Here’s how to see it

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, remnants of Halley's comet, peaks this weekend.

19 days ago

Actor Mark Hamill takes off sunglasses given to him by President Joe Biden, as he joins White House...

COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

‘Star Wars’ actor Mark Hamill drops by White House for a visit with ‘Joe-bi-Wan Kenobi’

"Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill has dropped by the White House for a visit with President Joe Biden.

20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Marines halt search for 8 missing troops, all presumed dead