Deaths in US arms depot explosion

Mortar shell explodes unexpectedly during army training in state of Nevada, leaving seven dead and many others injured.

    Deaths in US arms depot explosion
    At least eight men are in hospital, three in a serious condition and five in a stable condition [AFP]

    Seven US Marines have been killed and eight more injured after a mortar shell exploded unexpectedly during a training exercise in the US state of Nevada.

    Those caught in the blast at the Hawthorne Army Depot at 22:00 local time (05:00 GMT on Tuesday) were members of the 2nd Marine Division.

    It was not immediately clear whether the 60mm mortar shell exploded prematurely inside its firing tube or whether more than a single round exploded

    At least eight men are in hospital, three in a serious condition and five in a stable condition.

    Investigation under way

    The victims were airlifted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with injuries that included penetrating trauma, fractures and vascular injuries, said Stacy Kendall, a spokeswoman for the facility.

    Army and Marine officials said the incident is now under investigation.

    Hawthorne Army Depot is a military facility used for the storage and destruction of demilitarised ammunition. It is located about 152km southeast of Reno.

    The depot was first established as a naval staging area during most of World War II.

    The names of the dead and injured have not been released pending notification of their families.

    The accident comes a week after a US military plane assigned to a Washington state Naval Air Station crashed during
    a routine training flight, killing all three crew members on board.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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