The Marines said the equipment needed to retrieve the remains of the service members and lift the vehicle from the ocean floor would be in place by the end of this week. “A dignified transfer of our marines and seamen will take place as soon as possible after the salvage operations are completed,” the corps said in the statement.
Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, a rifleman, was pronounced dead at the scene, the Marines said in a statement. On Sunday, the corps identified the seven presumably dead Marines who were also riflemen as Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19; and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21.
Christopher Gnem, a 22-year-old hospital man, a seaman, was also believed to be dead.
All 16 service members aboard the attack vehicle were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Pendleton, San Diego area.
“It is with a heavy heart that I decided to complete the search and rescue effort,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, a commanding officer, in a statement on Saturday. “The unwavering commitment of the Marines, Sailors and Coast Guards to the ongoing rescue effort has been tremendous.”
At the time of the accident, the vehicle was driving back from San Clemente Island to a ship that was more than 1,000 meters offshore, General David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, said Friday.