The two dead are Australian citizen Trent Lee and British citizen Stephen Atkinson. It writes Norwegian People’s Aid in a press release.
– We can confirm that two of our colleagues died in a tragic accident with explosives in the Solomon Islands, says Per Nergaard, Assistant Secretary General of Norwegian People’s Aid.
It is currently unclear what triggered the explosion.
– This is a very tragic accident, and the only thing we know is that there has been an explosion. We are now working to clarify the causes and assist the family of the deceased, says Nergaard.
Takes safety seriously
The accident happened in the Solomon Islands, where Norwegian People’s Aid is assisting the authorities in developing a centralized database of the large quantities of explosives from World War II that are on the archipelago.
– Norwegian People’s Aid has the safety of all our employees in the forefront and spends significant resources on training and emergency preparedness, but unfortunately it is impossible to completely guard against the dangers to which explosives cleaners are exposed, says Nergaard.
He emphasizes that this accident must be fully investigated before one can conclude what has happened.
– Terribly sorry
Norwegian People’s Aid has approx. 1850 deminers in 19 countries around the world.
The organization has been working in the Solomon Islands with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team since 2019.
– We are terribly sorry for what has happened, and for the loss of two good colleagues. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to the families and our colleagues, says Secretary General Henriette Killi Westhrin.