Four Marines killed in accident at California base - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Four Marines killed in accident at California base

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By M. Alex Johnson, Staff Writer, NBC News

Four U.S. Marines were killed Wednesday when unexploded ordnance blew up after a training accident at Camp Pendleton, Calif., military officials said.

The deadly accident occurred during a "range maintenance operation," the Marine Corps said in a statement. It gave no details and said none of the victims would be identified pending notification of their families.

A U.S. military official told NBC News that the Marines had just finished taking part in exercises about 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET) when unexploded ordnance detonated. A spokesman for the base told NBC San Diego that while the incident happened in an area where Marines fire artillery and drop bombs from aircraft, there was no firing going in that area at the time.

"We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines lost today in this tragic accident," the Marine Corps statement said.

The accident is at least the second deadly training incident this year involving Camp Pendleton-based Marines, NBC San Diego reported.

In February, a Marine died in an active-duty training exercise in Riverside County. The Marine was skydiving as part of training and went down near Perris Valley Airport.

Camp Pendleton, in southern California about 40 miles north of San Diego, is the Marine Corps' main amphibious training base on the West Coast and is home to the I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube of NBC News contributed to this report.

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