Friday, September 29, 2017

That AAV accident was much more gruesome than I thought...and the Marine Corps ain't talking...

via San Diego Union Tribune.
The information from the Marines was terse, tense. The basic facts, no illuminating details. Volumes were left to read between the lines of a couple of press releases and official non-comment.

This we know: Twelve of the most grievously injured service members were sent to civilian burn units, eight to UCSD and four, reportedly the most serious cases, to UC Irvine. The rest were sent to Pendleton’s hospital with one going to Scripps Memorial.

This is hellish stuff.

Third-degree burns change the lives of survivors, if they survive, forever.

But instead of providing a narrative of the accident and the aftermath, instead of keeping San Diego updated on the condition and identities of the survivors, the chain of command at 1st Marine Division choked off the public’s right to know what happened (and to whom) on the morning of Sept. 13.

Two weeks after the accident, a Marine spokesman deflected my questions with the boilerplate statement that the victims have a right to privacy, the incident is under investigation, and no information will be released until the review is completed, a process that could take a very long time.

Nothing new to report here.

It’s journalism’s nature, however, to abhor a vacuum of official information about life-changing events.

Doing the jobs they’re paid to do, enterprising reporters like the Union-Tribune’s Carl Prine confirmed that the Amtrack struck a natural gas line that was not operated by SDG&E, the provider of the gas.

It remains an open question if the line was properly mapped, maintained and marked.

Was the driver of the Amtrack trained to avoid the line?

What flame-resistant gear, if any, were the troops wearing, an equipment decision typically made by unit commanders before exercises?

The way this story has unfolded supports the suspicion that there will be hell to pay way down the line, long after the horror has faded from memory.

But, and this needs to be said, seriously burned victims are, right now, suffering in a living hell precious few of us can begin to comprehend.

Their anguish, and the anguish of their loved ones, is not being postponed to a later date.
Story here. 

A pipeline that was not operated by SDG&E?  What the fuck? I told you something with off here and this is exhibit number 1.  This incident is getting even more curious by the day.  Well done to the San Diego Union Tribune.

I will follow this story with interest.

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