HOUSTON — After more than 40 hours, military officials ended their search and rescue operation late Saturday evening for the eight service members who went missing on Thursday during a training exercise off the coast of San Diego.
Seven of those missing and presumed dead are Marines and one is a sailor.
Among those presumed dead is Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd of the Houston area, the military confirmed early Monday. KFMB reported Rodd recently became a father, and his family members have set up a GoFundMe page.
Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene before being transported by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego.
The families of those involved have been notified, the military said.
The Marines said this may be the worst accident involving an amphibious assault vehicle since it entered service nearly 50 years ago.
The vehicle was heading back to a nearby Navy warship when it began taking on water and sank approximately a half-mile off San Clemente Island. Eight Marines were rescued. Military personnel from the Navy, Coast Guard and Marines searched approximately 1,000 square nautical miles but were unable to find the missing service members.
“To not have all the answers right now is heartbreaking,” said Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, Commanding General of the I Marine Expeditionary Force in a social media post. “Our hearts break for their friends and families. We pray they find comfort during this difficult time."
As of Sunday, two of the Marines who were successfully rescued were still recovering in the hospital.
List of those dead, presumed dead and injured, according to the I Marine Expeditionary Force:
Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez was pronounced dead at the scene before being transported by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego. He was a rifleman with Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Presumed dead are:
Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Pfc. Evan A. Bath, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, Bravo Co., BLT 1/4.
A Marine rifleman with Bravo Co., BLT 1/4. The Marine was transported from the scene to Scripps Memorial Hospital by helicopter and was in critical condition.
A Marine AAV crewmember with Mechanized Co., BLT 1/4. The Marine was transported from the scene to Scripps Memorial Hospital by helicopter and was in critical condition. He has since been upgraded to stable condition per a competent medical authority.
KFMB in San Diego contributed to this report