Officials with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) have identified the location of the amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) 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,” MEU said in a statement.
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 Aug. 2 as search and rescue efforts ceased.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.