Military investigators continued working Friday to determine what caused an amphibious assault vehicle to become engulfed in flames this week at Camp Pendleton, leaving 14 Marines and a Navy corpsman injured, five of them critically.
A spokesman for the USMC 1st Marine Division said he could not comment on news accounts, based on one or more anonymous military sources, indicating that the AAV, or amtrack, caught fire Wednesday morning after running over and rupturing a gas line.
“We’re aware of those reports, but I can’t confirm that information,” 1st Lt. Paul Gainey said late Friday afternoon.
The lieutenant also said he could provide no condition updates on the injured, due to medical-privacy restrictions.
The accident occurred about 9:30 a.m. as the personnel were undergoing regularly scheduled land-based battalion training in the northern reaches of the military station near Oceanside.
Eight of them were taken to UCSD Medical Center, where three were admitted in critical condition and five in serious status.
Four others were transported to University of California Irvine Medical Center, where two were listed as critical and two were in unknown condition. Another Marine was admitted to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in stable status, and two were treated at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton for minor injuries.
It was unclear how long the investigation into the accident will take to complete, Gainey said.
The type of vehicle that caught fire has been used since the 1970s to transport Marines and combat equipment from sea to land.
–City News Service
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