CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) - A military investigation has determined human error was to blame for a March mortar explosion that killed seven U.S. Marines in Nevada.
1st Lt. Oliver David, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, said in a press release Wednesday that a Marine operating a 60 mm mortar tube and ammunition "did not follow correct procedures, resulting in the detonation of a high explosive round at the mortar position."
The Marines did not release a copy of the investigative report and declined to provide any further details about the nature of the deadly mistake. Officials also would not say whether changes to training procedures were enacted as a result of the review.
Marine officials announced earlier this month that two officers and a non-commissioned officer were removed from command following the March 18 accident at Hawthorne Army Depot. Seven Marines and a sailor were also wounded.
World wide use of the 60 mm mortar was suspended for a time. That suspension has now been lifted. The weapons system and the ordnance has been judged safe when used properly.
Hawthorne is the home of a huge Army Ammunition Depot, but its desert terrain apparently resembles that of Afghanistan and has been used increasingly in recent years for training exercises for troops preparing to deploy there.
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