Military says ordnance blast killed four US Marines in California

November 15, 2013 06:59

An explosion of live ordnance caused Wednesday's accidental deaths of four US Marines while they were conducting routine maintenance in an artillery zone at Camp Pendleton in California, a base spokesman said on Thursday.

The type of shell that exploded on Wednesday morning at the Zulu Impact Area and how exactly it was detonated remain under investigation, the spokesman, Jeff Nyhart said.

The range, located deep in the interior of the sprawling base, is used as a target zone for artillery and aerial bombing practice, and requires routine maintenance to keep it clear of obstructions and unexploded rounds.

The four dead Marines were ordnance disposal technicians based at Camp Pendleton, not new recruits, and "were handling unexploded ordnance" when the blast occurred, Nyhart said.

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