Solomon Islands: Men working for WW2 bomb clearing agency die in explosion

Two men working for an aid agency which helps dispose of unexploded bombs have been killed in an explosion in the Solomon Islands.

It’s unclear if Briton Stephen Atkinson and Australian Trent Lee, employees of Norwegian People’s Aid, had been defusing live munitions at the time.

The blast took place in the capital Honiara on Sunday.

The Solomon Islands, a WW2 battleground, are littered with thousands of unexploded bombs.

The Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) described the explosion as a “tragic accident”.

Its Deputy Secretary General Per Nergaard said an “investigation needs to be completed before there can be a conclusion on the cause of events”.

The organisation’s Secretary General Henriette Killi Westhrin added that it was “devastated by what has happened”.

According to the NPA, they were assisting the government in developing a centralised database “that gives an overview of the extensive amounts of explosive remnants of war contamination dating from the Second World War”.

Workers had been in the capital Honiara clearing sites of bombs ahead of the 2023 Pacific Games.