Am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle ig­nites, 8 Marines sent to burn center

Porterville Recorder - - NEWS - By JULIE WAT­SON

SAN DIEGO — An am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle caught fire dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise at a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia base Wed­nes­day and 15 Marines were hos­pi­tal­ized, in­clud­ing eight rushed to a burn center in San Diego, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said.

Three of the Marines were listed in crit­i­cal con­di­tion Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at the Burn Center at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia San Diego Health and five were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, the Marine Corps said in a state­ment. Four other Marines were rushed to the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Irvine Med­i­cal Center in nearby Or­ange County, in­clud­ing two in crit­i­cal con­di­tion there.

An­other Marine at a hospi­tal in the San Diego sub­urb of La Jolla was in sta­ble con­di­tion and two oth­ers were treated for mi­nor in­juries at a Navy hospi­tal at Camp Pendle­ton.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines and their fam­i­lies af­fected by this in­ci­dent,” a Marine Corps state­ment said.

The Marines from the 1st Bat­tal­ion, 1st Marine Reg­i­ment and 3rd As­sault Am­phib­ian Bat­tal­ion were con­duct­ing a com­bat readi­ness eval­u­a­tion as part of their bat­tal­ion train­ing at about 9:30 a.m. on a beach at Camp Pendle­ton Marine Corps base, north of San Diego, when the am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle ig­nited, said Marine 1st Lt. Paul Gainey.

Ac­cord­ing to a de­fense of­fi­cial who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ci­dent pub­licly, so spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, the am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle got stuck and then caught fire as the Marines were try­ing to free it.

The com­mand is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the in­ci­dent. Gainey said he had no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion to re­lease at this time.

The ar­mored ve­hi­cle is used to carry Marines and their equip­ment from Navy ships onto land. It re­sem­bles a tank and trav­els through wa­ter be­fore com­ing ashore. It has been used in the Marine Corps since the 1970s.

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