Two men from Britain and Australia , Stephen “Luke” Atkinson from Britain and Australian Trent Lee, employees of Norwegian People’s Aid, who were working in the Solomon Islands to locate bombs left behind from World War II have died Sunday after one of the bombs exploded. The fatal incident occurred in the residential Tasahe area of the Pacific Island’s capital Honiara . The men were staff members who were working with the government to develop a database of unexploded bombs from the war. They died at the office and police believe the men had several unexploded bombs at the office and may have been carrying out work to disarm them. The police later removed other bombs from the site. “We are devastated by what has happened, and for the loss of two good colleagues,” the head of the Norwegian agency, Henriette Killi Westhrin, said in a statement.
The Solomon Islands, a WW2 battleground in the South Pacific, are littered with thousands of unexploded bombs. It was the site of major military campaign for the Pacific. Lee had described himself as a Chemical Weapons Advisor on his Facebook page, adding that his role was “to survey and locate the items, then hand information over [to] the Solomon Islands Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal team”. Explosive weapons are often found within city construction sites, coral reefs, farms, forests and suburban gardens where children sometimes find and play with them.