20 Mar 2013

Seven Marines killed in Nevada training accident

3:30 pm on 20 March 2013

Seven US Marines have been killed and seven injured in a training accident in the American state of Nevada.

A Marine Corps official says a mortar shell exploded unexpectedly in its tube at the Hawthorne Army Depot on Monday night local time.

At least eight men are in hospital, three in a serious condition and five in a stable condition. The Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno says all the patients are aged under 30, and all suffered penetrating trauma, fracture and vascular injuries.

At a news conference, Brigadier-General Jim Lukeman said the cause of the malfunction was under investigation and in the meantime the use of all 60mm mortars in both training and combat has been banned.

A 60mm mortar normally needs three or four people to operate.