News

4 Marines die in accident at Camp Pendleton

4 Marines die in accident at Camp Pendleton

MARINES KILLED: Vehicles file through the main gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Four Marines were reported killed today in an accident while clearing an unexploded ordnance. Photo: Associated Press/Lenny Ignelzi

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Four U.S. Marines were killed on Wednesday in an accident while clearing a training area used as an artillery and aerial bombing range at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, a military spokesman said.

NBC News reported the Marines were killed when unexploded ordnance unexpectedly detonated, but the spokesman could not immediately confirm that, saying only the Marines had been clearing the area.

Marines spokesman Lieutenant Ryan Finnegan said the clearance operation would have involved anything necessary to keep the range free of obstructions, which could include disposing of ordnance. But he could not say they were handling ordnance when the accident occurred.

The cause of the accident, which happened on Wednesday morning at the Zulu Impact Area in the interior part of the base, was under investigation.

No live-fire exercise was under way at Zulu at the time, and while such an exercise was occurring at neighboring Whiskey Impact Area, it played no role in the deaths, Finnegan said.

“We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines lost today in this tragic accident,” Brigadier General John Bullard, commanding general of the base, said in a statement. “Our first priority is to provide the families with the support they need during this difficult time.”

Finnegan said the Marines killed were not new recruits and were based at Camp Pendleton, but the military did not release their ages or other details about them.

Training at Camp Pendleton, including the live fire at Whiskey Impact Area, continued after the fatalities, he said.

The Zulu Impact Area is a restricted zone because of the danger of unexploded ordnance, according to Camp Pendleton’s website. As a result, efforts to contain wildfires and study biology there are limited, the website description stated.

Seven Marines were killed in an accidental munitions depot blast in Nevada in March. In May, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a vehicle accident during a training exercise at Fort Knox in Kentucky.

In September 2011, two Marines aboard a helicopter died when it crashed during a training mission at Camp Pendleton, two months after a Marine was killed when another helicopter went down at the base.

Camp Pendleton, 40 miles north of San Diego, is the main West Coast base for the Marine Corps.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

randy-travis

A look back at some of the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: Surprising talent creates weird onscreen magic in ‘Foxcatcher’

This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Channing Tatum, left, and Mark Ruffalo in a scene from "Foxcatcher."

Sibling rivalry, loneliness, competition and madness fuel director Bennett Miller’s award-worthy true crime tale Foxcatcher.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Wild’ is both unsettling and triumphant

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Reese Witherspoon in a scene from the film, "Wild."

Reese Witherspoon leaves her comfort zone as real-life hiker Cheryl Strayed in "Wild."

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

keithurban

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Entertainment

Cameron Diaz engaged to Good Charlotte star

camerondiaz

The "Charlie's Angels" star is reportedly planning to marry Benji Madden.