Monday, June 30, 2008
In a bizarre incident, seventeen people are injured when soldiers fired live bullets instead of blanks in an open day display in France.
Fifteen civilians, including five children, and two soldiers were injured in the incident, which took place on Sunday.
The incident involved a demonstration by members of a French marines parachute regiment, of hostage liberation exercises at the Laperrine military barracks, which houses the 3rd marine infantry parachute regiment.
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Four of the 17 were seriously injured, with two being in a critical condition following the “incomprehensible” scenes at the barracks near Carcassone, in the country’s south-west, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, five helicopters, 11 firefighters’ first-aid vehicles and two ambulances have rushed to the scene of the incident to help the injured.
One soldier has been detained, while no explanation has been given with regards to why the wrong ammunition was loaded into the weapons.
Elsewhere, a national police spokesman said late on Sunday, “All hypotheses are being considered”, while adding that the weapons had been “seized and placed under lock and key”.
Hospitals in the towns of Toulouse, Narbonne, Montpellier and Perpignan, as well as Carcassone, were providing treatment.
According to a presidential statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy awaits the results of an urgent top-level military probe into the incident.
The statement said, Sarkozy “shares with the families the pain caused by this drama. My first thoughts are with the victims. Everything will be put in place to care for them”.
France’s Defense Minister Herve Morin traveled to Carcassonne on Sunday evening to visit the injured, while Sarkozy was due to visit the injured in the hospitals in Carcassonne and Toulouse.
The latest information given by the chief of the regional administration in Aude in southeast France, Bernard Lemaire is that investigators believe the deadly ammunition was loaded by mistake.
This article was posted: Monday, June 30, 2008 at 9:36 am