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1 US Marine dead, 8 missing off coast of California in training exercise

A Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicle assigned to the 4th Platoon, Charlie Company, 2d Assault Amphibian Battalion, approach Mayport Beach to disembark Marines and equipment during a Unitas Gold amphibious assault exercise. Maritime forces from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, U.S., and Uruguay are participating in UNITAS Gold, which provides the opportunity to conduct and integrate joint and combined land, maritime, coast guard and air operations in a realistic training environment. The exercise is taking place April 20-May 5 off the coast of Florida. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by CWO2 Keith A. Stevenson/Released)
July 31, 2020

One U.S. Marine has died and eight more remain unaccounted for after an accident involving an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) off the coast of California Thursday.

“1 Marine has died, 8 service members remain missing and 2 were injured after an AAV mishap July 30 off the coast of Southern California. All are assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU). Search and rescue efforts are still underway with support from the Navy and Coast Guard,” the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) confirmed the incident in a Tweet Friday.

There were 15 Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor inside the vehicle for the training exercise near San Clemente Island, when it began taking on water around 5:45 p.m. Thursday night, according to an I MEF provided to NBC News. Rescue efforts are still ongoing for the eight other Marines. The I MEF said it would investigate the incident.

The name of the deceased Marine is being withheld for 24 hours pending notification to the Marine’s family. Another Marine is in critical condition and a third was in stable condition.

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“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 second tweet by I MEF Friday morning.