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1 Marine dead, 8 troops missing after training accident off Southern California coast

Luke Money, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- One U.S. Marine has died and eight service members are missing after an accident during a training exercise off San Clemente Island, officials said Friday.

The incident occurred when an amphibious assault vehicle carrying 15 Marines and one Navy sailor began taking on water at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday during a training exercise, according to the United States Marine Corps.

One Marine was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and later died. Two others were injured and taken to hospitals where they were listed in critical and stable condition, respectively.

Five other service members were rescued.

The name of the Marine who died will be withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin, officials said.

All the Marines involved were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based out of Camp Pendleton.

Search-and-rescue efforts were continuing Friday morning with support from the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, according to the Marines.

"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 statement.

 

A Marines spokesman said there were no additional updates regarding the incident as of 8:18 a.m. local time.

The Marines have yet to say what may have led to the accident, which occurred during what officials called a "15th MEU and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group routine training exercise in the vicinity of San Clemente Island" -- a Navy-owned land mass about 70 miles off the San Diego County coast.

The vessels John Finn, Somerset and San Diego, three Navy MH-60 helicopters, the Coast Guard Cutter Forrest Rednour and a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter are all assisting in the search, according to the Marines.

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