MADRID — A powerful explosion at a Spanish military academy killed five soldiers and wounded three others yesterday when a bomb disposal drill went awry, the Defense Ministry said.
Soldiers getting ready to deploy as peacekeepers with the UN mission in south Lebanon were performing an exercise involving a controlled detonation of antitank mines when the ordnance exploded before the soldiers could move a safe distance away, an ministry official.
“They were preparing to deactivate explosives in Lebanon,’’ Defense Minister Carme Chacon said. “They were preparing to save lives in Lebanon when they lost their own.’’
The blast occurred at an army academy in Hoyo de Manzares, 20 miles northwest of Madrid.
Chacon described the explosion as very powerful and said the victims included some of Spain’s top experts in bomb disposal and troops who had just returned from service in Afghanistan.