Marine Killed in Australia Humvee Accident; 3rd Rollover Death in 6 Weeks

Lance Cpl. Hans Sandoval-Pereyra, died May 28, 2019 due to injuries sustained in a vehicle rollover in Darwin, Australia. (Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)
Lance Cpl. Hans Sandoval-Pereyra, died May 28, 2019 due to injuries sustained in a vehicle rollover in Darwin, Australia. (Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)

A Marine died in Australia's Northern Territory on Tuesday from injuries suffered when a Humvee rolled off the road this weekend, marking the third vehicle-related death for the service in six weeks.

Lance Cpl. Hans Sandoval-Pereyra, a 21-year-old expeditionary airfield systems technician, suffered fatal injuries while riding as a passenger when the Humvee "departed the road and rolled over" on Saturday, according to data from the Naval Safety Center.

Sandoval-Pereyra was immediately treated at the scene before being airlifted to the Royal Darwin Hospital where he died three days later.

A second Marine was treated and released for minor injuries after the accident. The rollover happened in Mount Bundy, about 60 miles south of Robertson Barracks in Darwin where most of the Marines rotating through Australia are based.

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“We are saddened by the loss of Lance Cpl. Sandoval-Pereyra,” Col. Russ Boyce, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin’s commanding officer said in a statement. “He was a beloved member of our community and our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

“We are extremely grateful to our Australian partners for their valiant efforts to save this young Marine’s life,” Boyce added.

Sandoval-Pereyra, of Fairfax, Virginia, belonged to the rotation’s aviation combat element. Before deploying to Australia, he was assigned to the Hawaii-based Marine Wing Support Detachment 24.

The lance corporal is the third Marine to die as a result of military vehicle rollovers in recent weeks.

On May 9, 1st Lt. Hugh McDowell, a 24-year-old platoon commander with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, died when his light armored vehicle rolled over during a training event at Camp Pendleton in California. And on April 14, Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica, a 29-year-old critical skills operator with 1st Marine Raider Battalion, died from injuries he suffered when his all-terrain vehicle flipped.

Both of those accidents remain under investigation. McDowell's father, Michael McDowell, told the Washington Post last week that he wanted to know more about his son's accident and to be sure the Marine Corps was taking steps to prevent future mishaps.

"I want to make sure this is fixed, that he didn't die in vain," Michael McDowell said.

There are about 2,500 Marines currently deployed to Australia's Northern Territory as part of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin. The deployment is the largest yet for the Marine Corps since it started sending leathernecks Down Under in 2012.

The Marines arrived in Australia last month and are scheduled to train there until October. The rotational force includes units from I and III Marine expeditionary forces.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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