Sunday, June 29, 2008

French Military Prowess: 16 Injured at Show When Soldier Fires Live Rounds Instead of Blanks

They believe it was accidental, but in the meantime the offending soldier has been taken into custody.
A military shooting demonstration in south-east France ended in disaster last night after a soldier fired real bullets instead of blanks, injuring at least 16 people in the crowd, many of them members of soldiers' families.

Four people were seriously wounded, including a three-year-old child, after shots were fired during a demonstration of techniques used to free hostages at a barracks in Carcasonne. Bernard Lemaire, head of the regional administration in Aude, told France-3 television that 15 of the injured were civilians.

The Laperrine military barracks in the centre of the town had been hosting an open day for a crowd made up largely of soldiers' families. The crowd had watched five 20-minute demonstrations of military skills in a large open space inside the compound, home to the 3rd marine infantry parachute regiment. Just before 6pm, live shots were fired during a demonstration by a group of parachute commandos simulating an assault to free hostages.

The soldier who fired the shots was taken into police custody pending an inquiry, although local officials did not rule out the possibility of an accident.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals, with the most seriously wounded taken to Toulouse.

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