Seventeen people, including a three-year-old child, were injured in France over the weekend when real bullets were fired at a military shooting demonstration instead of blanks.
The incident happened Sunday during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at an open house at Laperrine military barracks in southern France, Defence Ministry officials said.
The open house was intended to thank the public for its support and mark a new era of friendship between the base, its soldiers and the community. The shooting involved the same brigade scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan later this summer.
Two soldiers and 15 visitors were rushed to nearby hospitals via helicopters and a motorcade of ambulances after one senior soldier opened fire with real bullets.
Four of the wounded are in serious condition, including a three-year-old child, said Bernard Lemaire, chief of the regional administration in Aude, on France-3 television.
The soldier involved in the shooting has been detained.
"It's too early to talk about a criminal act," Col. Benoit Royale, head of the army's information unit, said in French. "We're just perplexed that something like this could happen given all the safety measures."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his "horror" at Sunday's incident and demanded an explanation.
Officials are investigating why a weapon was pointed at the crowd and why real bullets were in the gun.