Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

US Navy searching for overboard marine off Philippines

US Navy searching for overboard marine off Philippines

The United States Navy reported that they are now conducting an "all-hands effort" search for a United States Marine that fell overboard while the ship he was on was conduction operations off the coast of the Philippines in the Sulu Sea.

In a statement, the US Embassy said the Marine was assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard USS Essex. The incident occurred in the Sulu Sea, according to a Marine Corps news release. "All of our Sailors, Marines and available assets aboard the U.S.S. Essex have been and will continue to be involved in this incredibly important search and rescue operation".

The ship was conducting "routine operations in the Sulu Sea" at the time, the California based unit said in the statement, which was posted on its social media sites.

The operation began as soon as the Marine was reported overboard at 9:40 a.m. local time Thursday - 6:40 p.m. Wednesday in San Diego.

"We remain committed to searching for and finding our marine", the statement quoted its commander, Colonel Chandler Nelms as saying.

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The Essex Amphibious Ready Group deployed last month from San Diego with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, becoming the first ARG to deploy from the continental United States with Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters aboard.

"As of now there has been no update on whether the marine has been recovered", Lorenzana added.

Western Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said they have dispatched air search and rescue teams during the first few hours, but did not find the marine.

Lorenzana said the U.S. military did not actually ask for assistance for the search and rescue mission.

Philippine coast guard vessels and a U.S. Navy P-8 aircraft are assisting in the search, which has already covered 3,000 square nautical miles, officials said.

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