Location of Sunken AAV, Remains Found off San Clemente Island

04 August 2020

From 1st Lt. Brian Tuthill

Officials with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group positively identified on August 3 the location of the amphibious assault vehicle that sunk off the coast of San Clemente Island on July 30. The U.S. Navy’s Undersea Rescue Command confirmed that human remains have also been identified using their underwater remotely-operated video systems from the merchant vessel HOS Dominator, a ship specializing in undersea search and rescue...

Officials with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group positively identified on August 3 the location of the amphibious assault vehicle that sunk off the coast of San Clemente Island on July 30.

The U.S. Navy’s Undersea Rescue Command confirmed that human remains have also been identified using their underwater remotely-operated video systems from the merchant vessel HOS Dominator, a ship specializing in undersea search and rescue.

The Navy has expedited the movement of assets to recover the remains of the Marines and Sailor, as well as raise the AAV. The equipment to properly and safely perform the recovery from the sea floor will be in place at the end of this week, and a dignified transfer of our Marines and Sailor will occur as soon as possible after the conclusion of recovery operations.

The AAV sunk to a depth of approximately 385 feet after taking on water during a shore-to-ship maneuver approximately 1,500 meters off the coast of San Clemente Island. One Marine was pronounced dead at the scene, and seven missing Marines and one Sailor were subsequently presumed dead August 2 as search and rescue efforts ceased.

A previous press release had estimated the depth as 600 feet.

The cause of the July 30 incident is under investigation.

We will continue to communicate to the public and media as more information is available.

Imagery of the search and rescue efforts, as well as the current recovery efforts and the HOS Dominator, are available at https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/15thmeurecovery.

Underwater video imagery from the ROV is not available.

For more information, email media inquiries to imefcommstrat@usmc.mil.

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