Probe continues into deaths of four Marines at Camp Pendleton

An investigation was continuing Thursday into the explosion that killed four Marines at Camp Pendleton on a live-fire artillery range.

The accident Wednesday was not due to a live-fire incident, the Marine Corps said.

The Marines were in a detail that had been assigned to clear away unexploded ordnance on the Zulu range. Clearing away ordnance is a basic maintenance chore in preparation for using the range for training.

The names of the dead Marines have yet been released. Within hours, Marine officials began the task of notifying relatives of the four.


“We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines lost today in this tragic accident,” said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West-Camp Pendleton.

There was no live-fire training underway on the Zulu range at the time of the accident. Training on the adjacent Whiskey range continued without interruption.

Part of any investigation into a training death is an examination of whether safety precautions were followed.

In March, seven enlisted Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., were killed during mortar training at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada.

The premature explosion of the 60-millimeter mortar round that killed the seven was later determined to have been caused by human error in using a mortar, the Marine Corps said.

A lieutenant colonel, a captain, and a chief warrant officer were relieved of command as a result of the investigation.


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