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The Remains Of Seven Marines And A Sailor Have Been Recovered After A Training Accident Off California's Coast

The service members were conducting a routine training exercise when the amphibious assault vessel they were in took in water and sank.

Posted on August 8, 2020, at 1:41 p.m. ET

Staff Sgt. Kassie McDole/15th Marine Expeditionary Unit / Via

US service members conduct search and rescue operations for the missing Marines and sailor.

The remains of seven Marines and a sailor who went missing after their vessel sank during a routine training exercise off the coast of Southern California have been recovered, the US Marine Corps announced Saturday.

“Our hearts and thoughts of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are with the families of our recovered Marines and Sailor,” Col. Christopher Bronzi, commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in a statement. “We hope the successful recovery of our fallen warriors brings some measure of comfort.”

The eight service members' remains will be transferred to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for burial preparation, then released to their families.

The transfer of their remains would “not be open to the public,” the statement said, along with a request that the privacy of their families be respected.

The remains of seven Marines and a Sailor were successfully recovered Friday after underwater salvage operations following the July 30 mishap involving an amphibious assault vehicle off the coast of San Clemente Island. 1/6

Fifteen Marines and one sailor were engaged in a training exercise on July 30 when the amphibious assault vehicle they were in took on water and sank, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Eight Marines were rescued, two of whom were taken to a local hospital. One of them, Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, from New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene. His remains were transferred to Delaware on Aug. 5.

Seven other Marines and the sailor were later presumed dead following an unsuccessful 40-hour search and rescue mission off the coast of Southern California.

@USNavy Undersea Rescue Command confirmed human remains were identified with remotely-operated video systems aboard HOS Dominator, an undersea search & rescue ship. The Navy has expedited the movement of assets to recover the remains of the Marines and Sailor, and raise the AAV.

The names of the service members whose remains have been recovered were previously released by the Department of Defense. They were identified as Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas; Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello California; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Oregon; Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of Corona, California; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Oregon; and US Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California.

The cause of the incident is currently being investigated.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.