After several days of search, the US military announced on Sunday the end of the rescue operations.
They are now considered dead: the US military announced on Sunday the end of search operations for eight US soldiers, who disappeared at sea in a shipwreck Thursday off the coast of California.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to end the search and rescue operations,” Colonel Christopher Bronzi, commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in a statement.
The servicemen, seven Marine Corps members and a US Navy sailor, were in an amphibious assault vehicle, AAV said, which sank Thursday at 5:45 p.m. near San Clemente Island at a 100 miles off San Diego, Southern California, during a routine exercise.
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40 hours of unsuccessful research
The soldiers were dressed in combat gear and equipped with life jackets, but the AAV, a sort of large floating tank, weighed more than 26 tons and sank quickly to more than 300 meters below. A total of 16 soldiers were in the vehicle. Eight had been rescued. One of them later died, and two are in critical condition.
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The Marine Corps, US Navy and US Coast Guard searched more than 2,500 square kilometers using helicopters and ships to locate the others, but gave up after 40 unsuccessful hours.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident and while waiting to learn more, all operations aboard the AAVs have been suspended, General David Berger, commander of the Marine Corps, said on Thursday.