US cancels search for seven Marines and sailors missing at sea | News

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The US military has called off the search for seven Marines and one sailor who have been missing at sea for days, saying they were presumed dead.

Military personnel were in an amphibious assault vehicle that sank in deep water off the coast of southern California on Thursday during a training exercise.

During the 40-hour search, helicopters, ships and personal watercraft from the Navy, Navy and Coast Guard searched more than 1,000 square nautical miles, the marines said in a statement.

“It is with a heavy heart that I decided to conclude the search and rescue effort,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

A total of 16 soldiers were in the amphibious vehicle. Eight had been rescued but one later died. Two others remain in critical condition.

All of the Marines involved were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based out of Camp Pendleton.

The search and rescue operation is now shifting to an operation to locate the bodies of missing service members, Bronzi said.

Training accident

The vessel, which was over 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) off the northwest coast of San Clemente Island, reported taking on water Thursday afternoon.

The 26-ton amphibious vehicle was armored and designed to transport troops from ship to coast.

At the time, the ship was returning to an island ship, which is used exclusively by the military for training and as a ship-to-shore firing range.

It sank in several hundred feet of water, which the military deemed too deep for regular divers to reach.



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