SAN DIEGO (AP) — Eight were rushed to a San Diego burn center and seven others were also hospitalized after their amphibious vehicle caught fire during a training exercise at a military base.
Three of the 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 Corps said in a statement. Four other were rushed to the University of California Irvine Medical Center in nearby Orange County, including two in critical condition there.
Another 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 .
According to Fox News, the number of injured Marines was increased to fifteen on Friday. One of their sources close to the investigation claims the fire did not start from inside the amphibious assault vehicle, as had been originally reported.
“The fire did not start inside the vehicle,” the U.S. military official said, who instead believes bad luck contributed to the incident.
It is believed the Marines ran over an underground gas pipeline, ruptured it, which somehow started a fire aboard the vehicle.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the and their families affected by this incident,” a Corps statement said.
The from the 1st Battalion, 1st
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 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 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 Corps since the 1970s.
In 2013, a 21-year-old Camp died and four others were injured when ordnance ignited an amphibious assault vehicle during a training exercise at Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, in the California desert. The Corps has since developed a safer mine clearing system for its amphibious assault vehicles.
USMC LIFE contributed to this report
Associated Press writer Lolita Baldor in Washington