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7 Marines, 1 Sailor identified in training accident off San Diego coast

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CNN

(KYMA, KECY)-The military identifies the individuals presumed dead in an amphibious assault vehicle training accident off Southern California last week.

Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene before being taken by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego. He was a rifleman with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/4, according to CNN.

A sailor and seven Marines are presumed dead:

  • Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, California
  • Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California
  • Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a rifleman
  • US Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California
  • Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Oregon, a rifleman
  • Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas, a rifleman
  • Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Oregon, a rifleman
  • Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California, a rifleman

In a press release from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Force says 16 were on board the amphibious assault vehicle when crew members reported they had taken on water during shore-to-ship operations near San Clemente Island on Thursday at approximately 5:45 pm.

Five people were rescued but at least one died, while eight others are presumed dead, according to the release. Those rescued were wearing normal combat gear including body armor and an inflatable vest. Some were found floating, Gen. David Berger, commandant of the US Marine Corps, said.

The amphibious assault vehicle weighs 26 tons and is believed to have sunk to the ocean floor, which is hundreds of feet deep.

The search was called off on Saturday night after 40 hours.

The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force said, "It is with a heavy heart that I decided to conclude the search and rescue effort," said Col. Christopher Bronzi, a commanding officer. Similar training has been suspended "until the causal factors of this mishap are better understood," Berger said.

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