An unexploded World War II bombs blast yesterday (20 Sept) in the Solomons capital Honiara has killed two explosive specialists.
The Australian and a British men were both working to identify unexploded World War II bombs in the Solomon Islands. Both men were bomb specialists working for an overseas-funded project that maps unexploded bomb sites for later disposal by specialist police teams.
The men died in a rented apartment in Tasahe in West Honiara between 7.30pm and 8pm on Sunday night, Solomons police and their aid agency have confirmed.
A Solomons police statement said the blast area had been sealed off and officers of the explosive ordnance disposal team and forensics department were at the scene.
The residential flats also served as the project office for the bomb survey team and investigators will try to determine why explosives were present.
“This is a tragic accident. So far, we know that there has been an explosion with fatal consequences. Our main priority now is to offer assistance to relatives and colleagues and to clarify what has happened,” he said.
Honiara is on the island of Guadalcanal, which was a major battleground when US forces invaded to dislodge the Japanese occupiers in World War II.
A program has been underway to clear unexploded ordnance in Honiara before the 2023 Pacific Games.