Four Marines were killed trying to clear live ordnance from a training range at Camp Pendleton near San Diego on Wednesday, according to officials.
The Marines were sweeping a range of unexploded munitions at roughly 11 a.m. local time to make it safe for future training when the deaths occurred, according to a Marine Corps official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. No live exercises were going on at the time.
"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 Bullard, commanding general of Marine Corps Installation West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The accident remains under investigation. The names of the victims will be released a day after their families are notified.
The accident follows a mortar explosion at a base in Nevada on March 18 that killed seven Marines. Human error was to blame for that accident, according to a Marine Corps investigation. A Marine mishandled a 60-mm mortar tube, causing the round to detonate at that position.
Pendleton, home to the 1st Marine Division, is the main Marine Corps hub on the West Coast and is home to many Marine Corps training facilities. Roughly 50 miles north of San Diego, it spans approximately 125,000 acres.