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 Sports

Pacquiao knocked Algieri down 6 times, dominates

Pacquiao Bradley News Conference

Pacquiao gets a signature win that should put to rest the idea he's declining and maybe even set up a fight next year with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

in Local

Lynden museum won’t give up all its guns after all

old guns

A pawn shop offered to do the museum's paperwork for them

in Local Sports

Big plays help Huskies race past Beavers

Washington's John Ross returns a punt against Arizona State in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, in Seattle.

The Huskies became bowl eligible with a 37-13 win over Oregon State on Saturday night.

in Local Sports

WWU men wins exhibition at American University-Puerto Rico

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

Western Washington University concluded its trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday by defeating American University, 85-68, in a men's basketball exhibition game at Complejo Deportive.

in Local Sports

WWU women defeats UCSD

Viking at Carver

The Western Washington University women's basketball team rallied from a seven-point deficit and went on to claim an 80-77 overtime win over UC-San Diego to conclude final-day action at the West Region Crossover Classic on Saturday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.