FILE - Marines race onto the beach from amphibious landing craft during mock exercise.
FILE - Marines race onto the beach from amphibious landing craft during mock exercise.

An accident during training off the Southern California coast has left one Marine dead, two others hurt and eight service members missing.

An amphibious assault vehicle carrying 15 Marines and one sailor began taking on water late Thursday after completing a drill, Marine Lieutenant General Joseph Osterman told reporters at a news briefing Friday.

“We still have seven Marines and one sailor who remain missing, and search-and-rescue efforts are ongoing to find them. This mishap is under investigation, and we will share the results of it once it is complete,” Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger said at a press briefing.

Berger said the two injured Marines, assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, California, remained in critical condition at an area hospital.

Helicopters and boats have been searching for the missing service members since shortly after the incident.

Marines frequently practice beach attacks using amphibious troop transport vehicles.

Berger said he had directed an immediate suspension of amphibious assault vehicle water operations “out of an abundance of caution” until the cause of the incident was better understood. He added that all amphibious assault vehicles across the fleet would be inspected.

The vehicle was “nowhere near capacity” during the incident, and all aboard would have had inflatable vests with them, according to Osterman.