All-hands search for Marine who went overboard near Philippines

All-hands search for Marine who went overboard near Philippines

The U.S.S. Essex reported the Marine missing in the Sulu Sea around 9:40 a.m. local time Thursday and immediately started search and rescue operations.

The US 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit said a member, who was not named, may have gone overboard Thursday morning.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the marine went missing in Philippine waters.

The embassy said the ship has been searched multiple times and the embarked aircraft aboard the vessel has been conducting search and rescue operations within the Sulu Sea and Surigao Strait. Navy, Marine Corps and Philippine ships and aircraft are all involved in the search, which will continue "until every option has been exhausted", according to a post on the 13th MEU's Facebook page. "As of now (wala) pang update kung na-recover na 'yung marine", he said.

U.S. Navy crew members and members of the missing Marine's unit have conducted expensive searches of the Essex, while calling in the Philippine Coast Guard to assist in the search at sea.

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"We initially dispatched air search and rescue team during the first few hours after it was reported but without positive result", said Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Arnel dela Vega.

The Marine's family has been notified, but the service is withholding his or her identification while the search is ongoing.

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

Col. Chandler Nelms, the commanding officer of the unit, asked people to keep the Marine and the Marine's family in their thoughts and prayers.

"All of our sailors, marines and available assets aboard the USS Essex have been and will continue to be involved in this incredibly important search and rescue operation", added the search commander, US Navy Captain Gerald Olin.

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