Amphibious Assault Vehicle Sinking off Waimanalo

Here are several archived news stories about the Marine Corps Amphibious Assault vehicle that sank off Waimanalo. The original URLs and videos are no longer available for two of the stories:
POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marines look into vehicle’s sinking

The Marines are investigating what caused a $2 million amphibious vehicle to sink about 160 yards off Bellows Beach during a training exercise on Monday.

No one was injured during the incident, which occurred at 6:30 p.m.

Maj. Alan Crouch, a Marine spokesman, said the tracked vehicle was carrying three Marines at the time. It was one of seven vehicles taking part in the exercise.

A release from the Marine Corps Base Hawaii said a combat assault company’s assault amphibian platoon was conducting scheduled water operations when it encountered a swell about 1,200 yards offshore.

The 46,000-pound AAV or assault amphibian vehicle began taking on water and lost power while attempting to reach the shore, the statement said.

The three Marines onboard were safely evacuated to another assault vehicle participating in the exercise.

As a safety precaution an oil spill containment boom was placed around the area where the vehicle sank in 15 feet of water.

Navy salvage divers were to return to the area today to determine how to raise the sunken vehicle. Marine Corps officials hope to refloat the vehicle and send it the Barstow Marine Corps Logistical Base in California for repairs.

The 131/2-foot-long vehicles, capable of carrying 25 passengers and a crew of three, are used by Marines to move from ship to shore. It has a maximum speed of 45 mph on land and 8 mph in the water.


From KHON:

Salvaging an Assault Amphibian Vehicle

By Ron Mizutani

Story Updated: Jan 14, 2009 at 6:22 PM HST

A diving and salvage unit from Marine Corps Base Hawaii returned to Bellows Wednesday to recover an Assault Amphibian Vehicle that sank Monday night. But is there more to the story than what’s being shared by the military?

Sources told KHON2 diesel fuel leaked from the A-A-V but those in charge of the salvage project say that’s not true.

As divers prepped salvage equipment at Bellows, beach goers watched with interest and questions.

“There’s an offshore reef which is about probably 300 yards out and I always wondered whether there was a puka that they came through that was set aside for them to come through or whether they were just hoping that they wouldn’t hit it when they came in,” said Tom Holowach of Kailua.

Monday night, marines did the latter. The incident happened about 6:30 during water operations — similar to these exercises in 2002. According to military officials, a wave hit the AAV about 12-hundred yards offshore causing it to strike the reef. The vehicle started taking on water and lost power while attempting to reach the shoreline. It sank less than 175 yards from shore. All three marines escaped injury.

“So they pulled another vehicle along side it, moved all the personnel and gear to the other vehicle and attempted to hook up to tow but the vehicle was under water,” said Commander Christopher Kim of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

“No fuel is emitting from the vehicle and we have been diving on it through out yesterday and today and continue to monitor and she’s pretty much intact,” said Gordon Olayvar of the Federal Conservation Law Enforcement.

But sources close to the investigation say an unknown amount of diesel leaked from the vehicle. Environmental watchdog Carroll Cox received a similar tip.

“I received a call saying there is diesel fuel being emitted — didn’t tell me the volume of the quantity,” said Cox.

“Obviously one of the things of concern for us is fuel making sure that the fuel is contained,” said Olayvar.

Cox says residents should not be satisfied.

“No we should not be,” said Cox. “The concern I have is a boom is placed here and if you look at it the way its configured — that’s not going to serve any purpose — it should be completed contained. I don’t believe that the military has been as transparent in this situation as they should be.”

Crews expect to recover the A-A-V Wednesday night. The state will then determine if there’s been any reef impact.

Marines Attempt to Re-Float Amphibious Vehicle
Written by KGMB9 News –
January 15, 2009 06:39 PM

A complicated recovery project is going on in Waimanalo.

A team of marines is trying to re-float a 28-ton amphibious assault vehicle from a reef off Bellows Beach.

That’s where it sank on Monday, after a wave knocked it over.

Wednesday, crews tried to float the tank and tow it to shore.

But they had to go back Thursday and had better luck.

It took a few hours to get it off the sea floor.

The Marines are towing it in right now.

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