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.