Solomon Star -21 September 2020 – By MOFFAT MAMU, Newsroom, Honiara
TWO foreign nationals have lost their lives during an accident last night at their private rented home in Tasahe, West Honiara.
The duo – a British and an Australian national died when an Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) they were working on with went off between 7.30 pm and 8 pm last night. reports reaching the paper said.
It was revealed both men were bomb specialists working for an overseas funded project that goes around mapping bomb sites and UXO around the country.
Witnesses said the sound of the blast ranged through nearby homes to where the incident took place.
Some compared the sound of the blast as similar to a vehicle tyre bursting.
Following the blast, people rushed to the scene where they discovered the men badly injured.
Ambulance were immediately called to bring the men to the National Referral Hospital (NRH).
Reports said revealed one of the men died at the scene while the other was confirmed dead later at the hospital.
Last night the vicinity of the home was sealed off as police commenced investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Police Media Unit last night said officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team and Forensics Department were at the scene following the fatal bomb blast.
The statement said medical authorities at NRH have confirmed last night that two foreign nationals died as a result of the blast.
The two expats were working for the Norwegian non-government organisation, Norwegian Peoples Aid, that is conducting a non-technical survey on the contamination of Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) in Solomon Islands, the police media statement said.
The State Department of the United States (US) funds the project.
Officer-In-charge (OIC) of the RSIPF EOD Inspector Clifford Tunuki said, they received report on the incident yesterday evening and were at the scene of the tragic incident.
EOD officers have rendered the scene safe before the RSIPF Forensics and other investigators were able to access the scene to find out what happened, he added.
“We call on members of the public in the Tasahe area to please stay well away from the area of the incident and allow RSIPF officers to do their work as we investigate this tragic incident,” said Inspector Tunuki last night.
He also confirmed that none of the RSIPF EOD officers were at the scene when the bomb blast happened despite the fact that they work together with the project.
He explained the survey team usually goes out to confirm the location of the UXOs following reports from the communities and the information is relayed to them.
“We determine what to do with the UXOs after the survey has located them,” Inspector Tunuki explained.
On behalf of the RSIPF Mr Tunuki conveyed his sincere condolences to family and relatives of those two foreign nationals who died in this tragic incident.
Many locals both in the country and overseas have expressed shock about the news last night.
The social media was flooded with message of condolences and sympathy to the families of the deceased.