The Navy on Tuesday located an amphibious tank that sank off the Southern California coast last week and is preparing to recover the human remains of troops believed to have been on board.
Seven Marines and one Navy sailor went missing when the 26-ton vehicle sank on Thursday just a mile from San Clemente Island off San Diego’s coast.
Navy officials said they have found the vehicle 385 feet underwater and that human remains have been identified onboard using remote-controlled video technology that surveyed the wreck.
The Navy will now work to place equipment down by the sunken vehicle to begin recovering the bodies by the end of the week. The tank will be pulled out of the water after the remains are brought to shore.
Fifteen Marines and one Navy sailor were on board and had just finished a routine training exercise when the tank sank. In addition to the troops that have been listed as missing, another Marine was pronounced dead at the scene and seven others were rescued.
Two Marines that were rescued were still hospitalized recovering from their injuries as of Tuesday.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of eight Marines and one Sailor during a training exercise off the coast of California,” President Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Our prayers are with their families. I thank them for the brave service their loved ones gave to our Nation. #SemperFidelis.”
The tragedy has forced the Marine Corps to ban waterborne activity among all 800 of its amphibious vehicles until it identifies what caused the accident.
The type of vehicle, nicknamed “amtrac” for amphibious tractor, has been used since 1972 to transport troops and equipment from ships to land. It was built with three water-tight hatches and two additional troop hatches.
With Post wires