5 Marines in critical condition after their vehicle bursts into flames at Camp Pendleton(Wikimedia)
An amphibious assault vehicle with 15 Marines inside burst into flames during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton, California on Wednesday, according to a source with knowledge of the incident.
Although the vehicle was engulfed in flames, all of the Marines were able to escape.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to talk with reporters, said that at least three Marines were taken by helicopter to local hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation.
The training incident involved members of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and troops with Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, an infantry unit situated at the northern end of the base at Camp Horno. The unit was carrying out a Combat Readiness Evaluation, the source added.
All 15 Marines are being treated for injuries from the incident; 8 were transported to the Burn Center at University of California-San Diego, while 4 others were taken to the University of California-Irvine Medical Center.
Five Marines were listed in critical condition. Another five were listed as serious.
One Marine was in stable condition after being transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, and two others were treated for minor injuries at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
“All Marines are currently being treated for injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines and their families as they receive medical care. Officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident at this time,” 1st Marine Division spokesman 1st Lt. Paul Gainey said in a statement.
This post was updated 9/13 3:54 p.m. PDT with more information on the extent of injuries.