US marine dead, 8 missing after ‘incident’ off California coast

One US Marine has died, two are injured and eight others are missing after a “tragic incident” involving an assault amphibious vehicle off the coast of Southern California on Thursday, the US Marine Corps confirmed early Friday morning.

Search and rescue efforts were under way with support from the navy and coastguard, the First Marine Expeditionary Force said in a tweet early on Friday.

All the marines involved were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based at Camp Pendleton, the largest US Marine base on the West Coast of the United States, between Orange and San Diego counties.

Marines often practice beach assaults there using the amphibious troop transport vehicles.

“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,” Colonel Christopher Bronzi, commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said on Twitter, without giving further details of what had happened.

Marines in the vehicle reported taking on water during an exercise on Thursday evening, 7 San Diego television reported, without citing sources.

One was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where the marine died, 7 San Diego said on its website.

Two others were taken to hospitals where one remains in critical condition, the report said.

A navy destroyer, three US Navy helicopters, and several other vessels were involved in the search along with a coastguard ship and helicopter, the report said. 

SOURCE: Reuters news agency

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