'We Failed These Young Men': Hearing Held On 2020 Training Accident Off San Clemente Island That Killed 8 Marines, 1 Sailor

A hearing on Capitol Hill was held on Tuesday, nearly a year after eight Marines and a sailor were killed in a training accident off the coast of San Clemente Island. Stacey Butler reports.

Video Transcript

- Families debate Marines and a sailor killed in a tragic accident at Camp Pendleton, testifying at an emotional hearing on Capitol Hill today. Members of the House armed Services Committee holding that hearing nine months after the amphibious assault vehicles sank.

- Well, Jeff, at times, the hearing got very emotional as the Marine Corps came under attack. KCAL 9 Orange County reporter Stacy Butler has more.

PETER VIENNA: He also refused to call what happened on July 31 a mishap. The definition of which is an unlucky accident. We've all seen the investigation and so we know that what actually occurred was a predictable outcome resulting from the reckless disregard for human life by a command that ignored its own safety standards and operational procedures.

STACEY BUTLER: Peter Vienna who lost his son Navy corpsman Christopher Gnem when the 36-year-old amphibious assault vehicle he was in sank off the Orange County coast last summer. He said the day his son died there were no rescue boats in the water. The amphibious assault vehicle had serious engine trouble and seawater was pouring in through leaks all around the vehicle.

Several Camp Pendleton leaders have already been relieved of command. The corp is revealing training safety and maintenance were all grossly unacceptable.

PETER OSTROVSKY: Why would that line of deemed to be in poor condition and not seaworthy assigned to a unit that would be deployed as America's Maritime Response Force? One of my sons AB company not a mission to any of the relevant directors of egoists training, which were better prepared than the others for such an emergency.

STACEY BUTLER: Peter Ostrovsky is haunted by unanswered questions after his son, Lance Corporal Jack Ryan Ostrowski also died. This dad finally got the chance to testify before the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness.

PETER OSTROVSKY: A week before the AB incident, Jack Ryan told me about his concerns with the aides and that they sent all of the time. It was hard for me to believe that statement. But now I know there was more to the story that was the basis for his concern.

STACEY BUTLER: Marine Corps officials agreed the deaths could have been prevented.

- The sinking but this aid and the deaths of eight Marines and one sailor were preventable.

STACEY BUTLER: The family is still waiting on a second investigation from the Naval Safety Center. They say they plan on holding those responsible accountable. In Newport Beach, Stacy Butler KCAL 9 News.