An accident off San Clemente Island in Southern California left one Marine dead and eight more missing Thursday evening. At roughly 5:45 PM, an amphibious assault vehicle that was carrying a Navy sailor and fifteen Marines began to take on water off the cost of San Clemente. One of the Marines was taken to the hospital and later died.
Five others were rescued but remain unharmed. Two more Marines were injured, and one of them was injured critically. Eight of the Marines remain missing, and search-and-rescue operations continue in the area. Both the Navy and the Coast Guard are aiding in the search and rescue effort.
Accident Shocks Local Residents
The accident came as a shock to residents of the nearby area. All of the Marines involved in the accident belong to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The news came as a shock Friday morning, as training accidents like these are quite rare. Many who join the Armed Forces are aware of the risks, but this happening during a training exercise is both unusual and tragic.
Many who join the military do so in order to both serve their country and receive the government salary and benefits associated. Things like vision insurance plans and medical coverage are hard for some people to find in the civilian sector. This serves to swell the ranks of the military, as young adults struggling to find gainful employment may turn to the Armed Forces.
Marines Respond to Accident
The Marine Corps released an official statement regarding the tragic training accident Friday morning. “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,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi. Col. Bronzi is the commanding officer of the 15th MEU.
Meanwhile, the Marines, the Navy and the Coast Guard were all coordinating Friday morning in searching for the missing marines. In such situations, when people go missing at sea, it’s common to hope for the best while preparing for the worst. The Marines are likely searching for bodies, however, and not survivors.
The difficulty of scanning the churning oceans for missing people is hard to overstate. Many people lost at sea never turn up. Once someone is under the waves and the currents begin to carry them away, it becomes almost impossible to retrieve them from the water.