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A TIDWORTH-based soldier has died after being injured in a live firing exercise.

The soldier, from the Royal Tank Regiment, was one of four who were hurt yesterday in Pembrokeshire.

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood said: "It is with deep sadness that I can confirm the death of a soldier from the Royal Tank Regiment who died as a result of injuries sustained in an incident at Castlemartin Ranges. His next of kin were by his bedside."

Police, who are investigating the incident alongside the Health and Safety Executive and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), said the three other soldiers remained in hospital in a serious condition.

Mr Ellwood added: "The safety of our personnel is our absolute priority and a full investigation is under way to understand the details of this tragic accident."

Paramedics were called to the scene, which is the only UK Army range available for armoured units for direct-fire live gunnery exercises, shortly after 3.30pm.

A spokesman from Dyfed-Powys Police said of the four men were injured, two were conveyed to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, one to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and another to a hospital in Birmingham by air ambulance.

A statement from the Royal Tank Regiment said its investigations were continuing.

It said: "Our thoughts are with the friends and families of all those involved."

Based in Tidworth, the regiment consists of three squadrons - Ajax, Badger and Cyclops - each equipped with 18 Challenger 2 battle tanks, the unit's MoD website says.

On June 7, the regiment, whose motto is "fear naught", posted on its Facebook page saying Badger squadron had arrived in Castlemartin for its annual firing period.

"Stay tuned for more photos and videos of the awesome firepower of the Challenger 2," the post said.

On June 11, an update showed a video of a tank firing on the range.

The accompanying post said: "FIRING! Here a crew from BADGER take on a tank target in Castlemartin. FEAR NAUGHT."

The fatal incident comes five years after a 21-year-old soldier died at Castlemartin when he was shot in the head while relaxing at a safe location just outside the training range.

A 2013 inquest into the death of Mike Maguire heard he was hit in the temple by a single bullet after live machine gun fire was wrongly directed inland towards the safe haven.

The inquest jury ruled Ranger Maguire, a member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, was unlawfully killed.

A 48-hour worldwide ban has now been placed on the use of ammunition deployed during a training exercise at a live firing range.