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US Marines killed in accident at California base

© Photo: AFP file photo.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-14

Four US Marines were killed on Wednesday in an accident while clearing a training area used as an artillery and bombing range at Camp Pendleton in southern California, a military spokesman said.

Four US Marines were killed while clearing a training area at the Camp Pendleton base of unexploded ordnance in California on Wednesday, officials said.

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 if the four people killed were handling ordnance when the accident occurred.

View Camp Pendleton in a larger map
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, he said.

NBC News reported that the Marines were killed when unexploded ordnance unexpectedly detonated, but Finnegan said he could not immediately confirm that. 

"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."

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

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-11-14