A search for eight service members has been called off and all are presumed dead, after their amphibious assault vehicle sank in deep water off the coast of Southern California.
The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit tweeted early Sunday that the rescue operation was now a recovery mission, after a 40-hour search that covered 1,000 nautical miles.
The seven marines and one sailor have been missing since their amphibious assault vehicle sank in 600-feet deep water near San Clemente Island in Los Angeles County about 5:45pm Thursday.
Eight more marines who were on the vessel when it sank were rescued from the water, and one died in hospital.
The troops were wearing full combat gear and flotation devices at the time of the disaster.
Next of kin were notified, the unit said in the social medial post.
The names of the victims have not yet been released by military officials.
A search for 8 service members has been called off and all are presumed dead, after their amphibious assault vehicle sank in a deep section off the coast of Southern California. Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team, are picture during the search
The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit tweeted early Sunday that the rescue operation was now a recovery mission after 40 hours of searching. A helicopter is pictured during the search
The unit tweeted that seven marines and 1 sailor were presumed lost after their amphibious assault vehicle sank in water 600 feet deep about 5:45pm Thursday
'Keep our 15thMEU families in your thoughts and prayers,' the Marines said on Twitter.
'I know all of us in the USMC family are extremely saddened following the announcement of the end of SAR operations,' added General David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps in comments he tweeted following the announcement.
'This difficult decision was made after all resources were exhausted.'
The marines said they conducted an extensive '40-hour' search. More than 1,000 square nautical miles were covered.
The submarine support ship HOS 'Dominator' had joined the search Friday.
One sailor and 15 Marines were inside the 26-ton military vehicle when it sank into the Pacific Ocean Thursday.
The Marines have suspended the use of the amphibious assault vehicles in water while they are inspected.
General David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, tweeted it was a 'difficult decision' to call off the search for the missing service members
Eight marines were rescued from the water after the vehicle sank. One marine was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla where he died.
Two injured marines were taken to San Diego-area hospitals where one is in a critical condition and the other is stable.
A marines spokesperson was not immediately available when DailyMail.com reached out for an update.
The Marine Expeditionary Force is the Marine Corps' main war fighting organization. There are three such groups which are made up of ground, air and logistics forces.
The vehicle took on water at around 5:45pm while 15 Marines and one sailor were inside near San Clemente Island in Los Angeles County. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is seen during training on Monday
Berger said during a press