According to a report from USNI News, the Navy has released its official report on the investigation into the 2020 sinking for a Marine Corps assault amphibious vehicle (AAV). Tragically, nine United States military members were killed in the accident. Investigators determined that a number of different safety issues contributed to the incident. In this blog post, our Houston maritime accident lawyer provides an overview of the Navy’s official findings in the investigation into the sinking of the U.S. Marine Corps AAV vehicle.
Nine U.S. Service Members Were Killed in an AAV Maritime Accident in 2020
On July 30th, 2020, an AAV from the Marine Expeditionary Unit was working on a training mission off of the coast of California. In the early evening hours, the AAV reportedly began taking on water at an alarming rate. It sank quickly. At the time of the accident, there were 16 U.S. military personnel on board the vessel—15 members of the United States Marine Corp and one member of the United States Navy. Tragically, only seven of the 16 service members were able to escape before the AAV sank.
Investigative Findings: Human Error and Mechanical Error
The latest report released by Navy investigators is just the latest in a line of independent investigations into this horrific maritime accident. The probe from the U.S. Navy found that a number of different safety issues and safety violations contributed to the sinking of the Marine AAV vessel. Among other things, Navy investigators emphasized the following issues as factors:
- Fault assumptions on the part of leadership;
- Poor communication between parties;
- Garbled radio calls during points of emergency;
- Conflicting policies between the Marine Corps and the Navy;
- Significant gaps in mission training and certification; and
- Mechanical errors caused by poor maintenance.
The investigative report’s findings once again notes that the accident could have been prevented with proper safety precautions. As a high ranking member of the U.S. armed forces noted, “this tragedy should have never happened.” With more information on exactly why the AAV vessel sank, it is hopeful that U.S. military branches will be in a position to fix gaps in safety and take action to ensure that similar accidents do not occur in the future. In the report, specific recommendations were made to help improve maritime safety, including proposed revisions to training practices.
We are Strong Advocates for Maritime Safety in the Gulf Coast Region
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Texas maritime injury lawyers fight for the rights and interests of people injured while aboard a vessel. As strong advocates for maritime safety, it is our mission to protect victims and their families. If you or your loved one was harmed in a maritime accident, we will protect your rights. Give us a call now or contact us online for a free review of your case. We provide maritime accident representation in Houston and throughout Southeastern Texas.