UPDATE: Eighth Marine Dies After Mortar Explosion

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Veterans of Foreign Wars official says an eighth Marine has died after a mortar shell explosion during mountain warfare training in Nevada's high desert.

John Stroud, national junior vice commander in chief for the VWF, began a memorial event near the site of the blast by saying "one of the critical has passed."

Mourners then laid eight floral arrangements at a park near the Hawthorne Army Depot.

Stroud says he spoke with Marine officers who gave him the news before Tuesday night's ceremony. Messages left for a Marine spokesman were not immediately returned.

The explosion occurred Monday night at the sprawling facility during an exercise involving the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Several Marines from the unit were injured in the blast.

The identities of those killed won't be released until 24 hours after their families are notified.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Marine Corps official says the seven Marines killed in Nevada died after a 60mm mortar exploded unexpectedly during a training accident. 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. Several other Marines were hurt.

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.

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The Marine Corps says seven Marines based in North Carolina were killed and several injured in a training accident at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada.

According to a statement from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp LeJeune, N.C., the cause of the accident that happened shortly before 10 p.m. Monday is under investigation.

The injured were taken to area hospitals for treatment and further evaluation.

The identities of those killed were not released pending notification of their families and a 24-hour waiting period after that.

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.

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An official at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada says an explosion has occurred during a Marine Corps training exercise.

Russ Collier told KRNV-TV in Reno that the explosion Monday night was an accident unrelated to the ammunition that is stored at the military facility near the small desert community of Hawthorne, about 140 miles southeast of Reno.

There was no immediate information of any injuries. Calls to the depot and to U.S. Joint Munitions Command, which oversees the facility, were not immediately answered.

The Mineral County sheriff's office says it does not have any details.

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.

In Washington, Army spokesman George Wright says he as yet had no details on the explosion.


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