Blast injures three U.S. Marines
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Three Marines were injured in a mine-clearing operation south of the runway at Kandahar airport, but a U.S. Central Command spokesman said the injuries are not life-threatening.
The Marine casualties in Kandahar are the first since the military occupied the airport recently.
Maj. Pete Mitchell of the Central Command told CNN from MacDill AFB near Tampa, Fla. told CNN that a Marine accidentally stepped on a mine, which then exploded and caused injury to two other Marines.
All three Marines were in stable condition Sunday, with mild to moderate injuries ranging from shrapnel wounds to hearing impairment, said Maj. Brad Lowell of U.S. Central Command.
Light-armored vehicles raced down the runway after the blast. A Huey helicopter was brought in and three people were seen being put on it. One person was in a stretcher with an IV.
All three of them were taken to the nearby Camp Rhino, the U.S. Marine base in southern Afghanistan, for medical treatment at a field hospital there. The Marines belonged to Task Force 58.
The whole area surrounding the perimeter of airport is heavily mined. Clearing the mines and unexploded ordnance is a huge problem for military planners, who need to solve the problem in order to make the airport operational.
In every building of the airport, Marines have found weapons and unexploded ordnance left by Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.
They have found all kinds of weaponry, such as anti-aircraft guns, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
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