Two Reported Killed In Base Explosion
BOWLING GREEN, Va. (AP) _ Several explosive devices were accidentally detonated on a firing range Wednesday, killing two Marines and injuring 13 others.
The accident at the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill occurred shortly before dusk during a training exercise for clearing small land mines, said Maj. Dan Schmidt, an Army spokesman.
The victims were in a group of about 20 Marines firing charges that detonate small land mines on a range at the sprawling base, about 60 miles south of Washington. Authorities were unsure whether the Marines were injured by the charges or by an exploding mine.
Stan Beeson, who lives nearby, said he often hears blasts from the base, but the explosion Wednesday evening was much louder than usual.
″I actually had a loose closet door that fell off the frame when it occurred and hit me in the back of the head,″ Beeson told radio station WFLS of Fredericksburg.
The identities of the Marines were being withheld pending notification of relatives, Schmidt said.
All of the victims are from the 3rd Battalion of the 8th Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Schmidt said he wasn’t sure how long the battalion has been at A.P. Hill.
Ten people were being treated at Mary Washington Hospital in nearby Fredericksburg. None of them suffered life-threatening injuries, said hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Kenny.
One burn victim was flown by helicopter to Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in Richmond with second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body, superintendent James Nogle said.
The location of the other two victims could not be immediately determined.