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Nine Tragically Killed in Military Training Exercise in California

August 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA- writes that a training exercise went catastrophically wrong this week at a Marine Corps base in Southern California. An amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) was traveling off of the California coastline when it sank. There were sixteen service members on board at the time of the incident. Only eight were found.* 

Of those rescued, one later died in the hospital, and another is currently in critical condition. The eight service members who are still missing are now presumed dead. The victim who died in the hospital was a Marine, along with seven of those who are now presumed dead. The other missing victim was a member of the Navy. 

The tragedy unfolded in the early evening, and after a search effort that lasted 40 hours, the Navy and Coast Guard called off the rescue mission. 

When the vessel sank, other AAVs were in the vicinity. The water in the area that the ship went down is hundreds of feet deep. 

Following the fatal sinking, the Marine Corps stated that they would no longer be engaging in AAV training until they have an understanding as to why this vessel sank. 

AAV accidents are rare, and in 25 years, there are only two reports of these vessels sinking.

In 2019, twenty American soldiers died in training exercises. The number of troops killed in Afghanistan was only two more than the total number killed in training. 

Between 2006 and 2018, 31.9 non-combat fatalities exceeded the number of combat deaths. One report stated that in 2017, the number of deadly training incidents was four times as high as the number of combat deaths. 

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.