4 Marines killed in accident at Camp Pendleton

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Four Marines died Wednesday morning in an accident at a firing range on Camp Pendleton, base officials said.

The accident happened at about 11 a.m. during a range maintenance operation at the Zulu Impact Area, an area used for artillery Marine Corps Base Camp Pendletonpractice near the center of the base, the Marines told Fox 5 News. All of the victims were Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, they said.

“We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines lost today in this tragic accident. Our first priority is to provide the families with the support they need during this difficult time,” said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The identities of the dead Marines are being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

As of early Thursday, the Marine Corps had released little information about the accident. Citing unnamed sources, however, several news outlets reported that the four died in an accidental detonation while sweeping the training grounds for live explosives.

More than a dozen Marines and sailors have died in training-related accidents aboard Pendleton since 2004. The causes of death range from helicopter crashes to accidental shootings.

There are about 40,000 Marines stationed on Camp Pendleton, base officials said.