At least one Marine was killed Thursday and eight other service members continued to be missing Friday after an amphibious assault vehicle “mishap” off the coast of Southern California, the I Marine Expeditionary Force confirmed Friday morning.
At Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said seven Marines and one sailor remain missing off the coast. Berger ordered an immediate suspension of amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) from training at sea.
The 26-ton Marine Corps AAV sank while returning to a warship at sea from San Clemente Island late Thursday afternoon. Search and rescue operations continued into Friday evening.
Two other service members were injured in the incident, officials said in a Twitter message.
The Navy and Coast Guard are conducting a joint search-and-rescue operation for the missing service members, all assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, headquartered at Camp Pendleton near San Diego.
The Coast Guard cutter, four warships and four helicopters continued their search for more than 10 hours, but so far the Marines have not been found.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident," Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU Commanding Officer, said in a statement. "I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search."
Amphibious assault vehicles are armored and able to move from water to land.
Marines in the AAV reported that the vehicle began to take on water during a routine exercise around 5:45 p.m. Thursday.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.