A Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicle that sank after a recent training accident was successfully recovered with the bodies of all the missing service members on board, the Corps announced late Friday evening.
The vehicle, that originally had 15 Marines and one sailor on board, was returning from San Clemente Island, California, on the evening of July 30 after completing a training raid with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The crew reported taking on water before the vessel “rapidly” sank.
Eight Marines successfully escaped the vehicle, but one, Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, a 19-year-old from New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead on the scene while two other Marines were rushed to the hospital, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
Still onboard the AAV when it sank were 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, 20, of Bend, Oregon, a rifleman, Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 22, of Harris, Texas, a rifleman, Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 18, of Portland, Oregon, a rifleman and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California, a rifleman.
The crew of the AAV was able to escape and all the service members who died were in the rear compartment used to transport troops, a Marine spokesman said.
The remains of the Marines and sailor found inside the recovered AAV are being transferred to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, a Marine Corps press release said.
There, the Corps’ mortuary services will prepare the bodies for burial before turning them over to their grieving families in a private ceremony, according to the press release.
“Our hearts and thoughts of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are with the families of our recovered Marines and Sailor,” Col. Christopher Bronzi, 15th MEU’s commander, said in the press release.
“We hope the successful recovery of our fallen warriors brings some measure of comfort,” he said.