"This mishap is under investigation ... in the meantime I've directed an immediate suspension of Amphibious Assault Vehicle water operations until the causal factors of this mishap are better understood, all AAVs [amphibious assault vehicles] across the fleet will be inspected," United States Marine Corps General David H. Berger said Friday.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) July 31, 2020
The Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard assets are currently searching for eight missing Marines assigned to the San Diego-based 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit involved in the deadly accident.
At the time of the incident, Marines were conducting a routine training exercise near San Clemente Island, Military.com reported.
Officials stated during a briefing on the matter that the eight service members who were previously declared missing have still not been found, and that two Marines remain in critical condition. Additionally, officials indicated that five Marines have since returned to their assigned stations.
Of the 15 Marines and one sailor on board the AAV made it out of the vehicle, one service member was declared dead after being evacuated to the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla near San Diego.
"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," Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU commanding officer, said in a recent statement obtained by Military.com.
AAV's are used to transport Marines from ship to shore and have been used by Marines since the early 1970s, according to Military.com.