Five days of intensive search efforts for a Marine who fell overboard in the Sulu Sea have ended without locating the Marine, whose status is still officially “missing,” Corps officials said on Tuesday.
- More than 110 aerial sorties were launched between August 9 and August 13 to look for the Marine, who was embarked on the amphibious assault ship Essex, according to a Tuesday news release from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
- U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Philippine ships and aircraft searched roughly 13,000 square nautical miles in the Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea and the Surigao Straight.
- “Only after exhausting every possibility through persistent and thorough search efforts, we have concluded the at-sea search and rescue effort for our Marine,” Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, commander, Amphibious Squadron One, said in the news release. “We appreciate the continued support provided to us from the U.S. Embassy and Philippine Government.”
- Investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding the Marine’s disappearance. He was reported missing and assumed overboard on August 9.
- “All of our Marines and sailors demonstrated a tremendous resilience and put forth an extraordinary effort over the past five days, and I am humbled by the teamwork and professionalism displayed by all involved to find our Marine,” Col. Chandler Nelms, commanding officer of the 13th MEU, said in the news release. “Our thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with our Marine’s family during this difficult time.”