Seven US Marines have been killed and several others injured after a mortar shell exploded unexpectedly during a training accident the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada.
A Marine Corps official said the blast occurred on Monday night.
At least eight men are in hospital, three in a serious condition and five in a stable condition.
It is not clear if the mortar exploded prematurely in its firing tube or if more than a single round exploded.
The US Marines Corps has banned use of 60 mm mortars, which normally need three to four troops to operate, until an investigation can establish what caused the incident.
Those caught in the Monday blast at 22:00 local time were members of the 2nd Marine Division.
Seven US Marines have been killed and several others injured after a mortar shell exploded unexpectedly during a training accident the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada
Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno said it had received nine patients, one of whom died.All the patients were men under the age of 30, who suffered penetrating trauma, fracture and vascular injuries, said Stacy Kendall, a spokeswoman for the facility.
Marine commander Maj. Gen Raymond Fox said in a news release: “We send our prayers and condolences to the families of Marines involved in this tragic incident.
“We remain focused on ensuring that they are supported through this difficult time.
“We mourn their loss, and it is with heavy hearts we remember their courage and sacrifice.”
Kim Chol, a North Korean military officer, has been executed with a mortar shell blast for disrespecting late leader Kim Jong-il by drinking alcohol during the 100-day mourning period.
South Korean media claim Kim Chol, the secretive state’s former vice minister of the army, was forced to stand on a spot that had been targeted with a mortar on the orders of Kim Jong-un.
Kim Jong-un, who took over from his father after his death in December 2011, demanded Kim Chol was “obliterated”, with “no trace of him behind, down to his hair” in January.
It followed the North Korean regime’s decision to order its 25 million population to abstain from pleasurable activities –including drinking alcohol – in honor of Kim Jong-il.
As an initial crack down on pleasure, anyone found to be not showing extreme distress in the hours after the dictator’s death were dealt with severely by being sent to six months in labor camps, according to reports leaking from the Stalinist nation.
It was claimed that anyone who failed to turn up at organized mourning events within two days of the burial service were sent to a labor camp and punishment was also meted out to anyone who even made a mobile phone call out of the country.
But when the mourning period to mark Kim Jong-il’s burial was over and the strict “no pleasure” 100 days followed, anyone who raised a glass of alcohol was in danger of receiving a death sentence.
According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper, Kim Chol was one of those who failed to resist the chance of having a drink.
Kim Chol has been executed for disrespecting late leader Kim Jong-il by drinking alcohol during the 100-day mourning period
And while Kim Chol was the most senior official reported to have been arrested and executed, the South Korea newspaper reporter that a number of other generals were shot after being found guilty of drinking and being involved in sex scandals.
In total, 14 senior party, government and military officials were said to have been “purged” on the direct orders of new leader Kim Jong-un.
It was claimed by sources outside the country that the mourning periods had created a “vicious atmosphere of fear” which have spilled over to daily life almost a year after Kim Jong-il’s death.
South Korean lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun told the Chosun Ilbo paper that the executions were probably not over.
“It seems that the purges will continue for the time being, as Kim Jong-un is tightening his grip on power,” he said.