Three hurt in blast on Dartmoor

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The Independent Online

Three children were seriously injured in an explosion on an Army firing range in Dartmoor National Park yesterday. Last night their parents were in a state of shock by the children's beds in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

They are believed to have picked up a shell which exploded in their hands. The blast occurred just before 5pm as they and their father walked across the range at Great Mis Tor, between Princetown and Tavistock.

A girl, 8, who suffered the most serious injuries from shrapnel, was in a serious but stable condition last night. She was flown by police helicopter to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Her brothers, aged 10 and 9, were taken to the same hospital by air ambulance. They had superficial injuries.

A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said of the shell involved: "It must have been one which remained after firing. Normally the Army clears up unexploded devices."

Dartmoor's National Park officer, Dr Nick Atkinson, said Dartmoor has been used for live firing for more than 100 years. He said the military was meticulous in accounting for every shell. A local authority spokesman said Dartmoor displayed notices warning people not to touch objects.