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Explosion at base occurred after soldiers stepped on gunpowder: Army

South Korean Army investigators looking into an explosion at a southern military base Tuesday said the accident occurred after soldiers stepped on piles of gunpowder.

"We have secured statements (from injured soldiers) that the explosion took place after they had trod on piles of gunpowder," an Army official said Wednesday, declining to be named.

More than 20 servicemen were injured by the explosion which took place at a training camp for reservists in the southern port city of Ulsan, some 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul, at around 11:50 a.m. on Tuesday. 

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

A non-commissioned officer in charge of managing ammunition said that he had "stored" gunpowder taken from more than 1,500 training grenades at the scene of the blast.

The statement has raised the possibility of his failure to properly handle the gunpowder.

Army officials said that they are trying to ascertain the credibility of the statements from injured soldiers, as there are doubts whether gunpowder can detonate when it is pressed by a person.

After the explosion, 23 soldiers were sent to hospitals. Six were found to be in need of longer-term treatment, including four who suffered minor burns. (Yonhap)

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