Military working to recover the remains of Marines and sailor
(KYMA, KECY)-Military teams have found the sunken amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) off the coast of San Clemente Island in Southern California on Tuesday.
The Marine Corps Times reports human remains were found onboard the vehicle using a remotely-operated underwater video system from the Dominator, a merchant vessel specializing in underseas search and rescue.
According to a Marine Corps press release, the vehicle "rapidly" sank Thursday with 15 Marines and one sailor.
However, eight Marines were able to escape the drowning vehicle, but one, Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead shortly after being returned to the amphibious transport dock, Somerset.
@USNavy Undersea Rescue Command confirmed human remains were identified with remotely-operated video systems aboard HOS Dominator, an undersea search & rescue ship. The Navy has expedited the movement of assets to recover the remains of the Marines and Sailor, and raise the AAV. pic.twitter.com/qAK62CMitV— I MEF (@1stMEF) August 4, 2020
Sources say they had been missing since the incident and were presumed dead Sunday after an extensive 40-hour search and rescue was shifted into a recovery mission.
“The Navy has expedited the movement of assets to recover the remains of the Marines and Sailor, as well as raise the AAV,” the press release said.
The vehicle was found under 385 feet of water and approximately 1,500 meters off the island’s shores. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.
The Marines and sailor that are still missing and presumed dead are:
―Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of Corona, California, a rifleman.
―Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California, a rifleman.
―Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a rifleman.
―U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California, a hospital corpsman.
―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.