Marines call off search for 8 missing military members after training accident

The U.S. Marines on Sunday called off the search for seven missing Marines and one Navy sailor who were missing after a vessel sank off the California coast on Thursday night. All eight are presumed dead.

The amphibious assault vehicle, known as an AAV, carries Marines from ship to ship. The AAV was carrying 15 Marines and one sailor when it was transferring the sailors from the shores of San Clemente Island near San Diego to a Navy ship when it began to sink.

Eight Marines were rescued after the accident, but one died. Two were in critical condition. 

The Marines were attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based at Camp Pendleton. 

A Marine officer told CBS News’ David Martin on Friday that this could be the worst AAV training accident ever. The Marines have suspended all water operations of the more than 800 AAVs until the cause of accident is determined. The investigation is ongoing.

Officials with the 15th MEU identified the personnel involved in the accident. The service member whose body was recovered was Marine Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas. He was pronounced dead at the scene before being transported by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego. Perez was a rifleman with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/4, 15th MEU.

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