Navy, Marine Corps investigations lay out fatal AAV sinking causes

By Aidan Quigley / October 7, 2021 at 11:17 AM

A combination of maintenance failures and human error caused the fatal sinking of an assault amphibious vehicle in July 2020, concluding a series of investigations into the tragedy, the Navy announced Wednesday.

Eight Marines and a sailor died during the AAV sinking off the coast of California last summer.

Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a Navy press release that the service is “reworking procedures and doctrine, clarifying aspects of amphibious operations, and instituting new training requirements to prevent future tragedies” following the investigations.

The Marine Corps conducted two investigations, a safety investigation that concluded in October 2020 and a command investigation that finished in February. The service instituted 23 institutional actions to address AAV waterborne operation equipment, procedures and training.

“The investigation found a confluence of factors, including COVID-19 impacts, task-saturation and reduced manning, poor communication, and inadequate training and equipping played significant roles in contributing to the conditions that allowed for the tragedy to occur,” the press release states.

Navy and Marine Corps leadership are now conducting a strategic review of amphibious operations.