CAMP LEJEUNE, NC (WECT/WITN/AP) – A late night explosion during a training accident in western Nevada killed seven marines from Camp Lejeune, according to WITN.
The Corps said in a statement Tuesday that the accident happened around 10 p.m. Monday at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. An official with the Marine Corps said the marines died after a 60mm mortar exploded unexpectedly.
The Marines immediately issued an indefinite moratorium on firing of all such mortars worldwide until an investigation clears as safe the type of weapon and ammunition in the tragedy.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was not immediately clear whether the mortar exploded prematurely inside its firing tube or whether more than a single round exploded. The official was not authorized to speak to a reporter about the accident.
The 60mm mortar is a weapon that traditionally requires three to four Marines to operate, but it's common during training for others to observe nearby.
Camp Lejeune told WITN seven service members were killed and several others with the 2nd Marine Division were injured. Those who were injured were taken to the hospital for treatment.
The names of those killed have not yet been released. Officials are investigating the cause of the explosion.
The Hawthorne Army Depot stores and disposes of ammunition. The facility is made up of hundreds of buildings spread over more than 230 square miles.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved. WITN and the AP contributed to this report.
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