On Monday, the Marine Corps released its investigation into a September incident that saw 14 Marines and one sailor suffer severe burns in an armored amphibious vehicle in Camp Pendleton.
At approximate 9:30 a.m. on September 13th of this year, the Marines were attempting to free their armored amphibious vehicle from a rut it was stuck in when they nicked a natural gas line. When the amtrack’s engine backfired during their attempts to extricate it, it ignited the gas leak, creating a massive 20-foot-tall pillar of fire that completely engulfed the vehicle, along with the Marines and Sailor riding inside.
“They attempted to get unstuck several times and then I heard a pop sound and then it exploded,” wrote an unnamed Marine in an official statement that was included in the report.
The injuries sustained by the Marines on board varied in severity, with one witness testimony recounting at least one Marine with “very bad burns to his upper body which was exposed through his tattered blouse. One was lying on his back and the other was on his knees looking at his hands. Both were conscious and screaming.”