Officials have found the remains of the seven marines and one sailor who went missing after their tank sunk during a routine training exercise off the coast of San Clemente Island.
The group had been participating in the July 30 exercise off the Californian coast when their amphibious assault vehicle bagan to take in water and sunk.
Of the 16 service member onboard, eight Marines were rescued. One has since died and another is in critical condition, the U.S. Marine Corp said in a press release.
Authorities work to retrieve the bodies of the seven Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor who sunk with the amphibious assault vehicle on July 30
In a Saturday Facebook post, the Marines shared that the remains were recovered on Friday.
‘Our hearts and thoughts of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are with the families of our recovered Marines and Sailor,’ Col. Christopher Bronzi, Commanding officer, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
‘We hope the successful recovery of our fallen warriors brings some measure of comfort.’
The Marines had been stationed at Camp Pendleton, and were all a part of the unit.
Officials identified the deceased personnel as: Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, California, a rifleman; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California, a rifleman; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a rifleman; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Oregon, a rifleman; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas, a rifleman; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Oregon, a rifleman; Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California, a rifleman; and U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California, a hospital corpsman.
U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California, a hospital corpsman
The recovered Marines and the U.S. Navy Sailor will all be transferred to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. There, they will be prepared by mortuary affairs teams for burial.
They will them be flown to Dover AFB in a solemn transfer, the post reads. Their remains will then be released to their families.
The bodies were located by the U.S. Navy’s Undersea Rescue Command, who used underwater remotely operated video systems from the merchant vessel HOS Dominator. The ship specializes in undersea search and rescues.
The Navy dispatched submarine search and rescue ship HOS Dominator to assist in the recovery on Friday
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Undersea Rescue Command deploys the Sibitzky Remotely Operated Vehicle to assist in the search
Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene on July 30
On Thursday, specialized equipment on diving and salvage ship arrived on Thursday to assist in the retrieval.
The AAV sub sunk to approximately 385ft off the coast of San Clemente Island, with initial reports estimating that the vessel had gone to approximately 600ft. It has since been recovered.
Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene. The rifleman was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego, with his remains getting transferred Wednesday to Dover AFB.
Throughout the entirety of the at-sea search – which was a joint effort by Marine Corps, Navy and the Coast Guard – more than 1,000sq nautical miles were searched by helicopters, ships and personnel.
The commandant of the Marine Corps has suspended all waterborne operations of its more than 800 amphibious assault vehicles until the cause of the accident is determined.
A stock photo shows an amphibious assault vehicle