Deminer Was Likely Digging Up Explosive When Killed

Preliminary results from an investigation into the death of a veteran deminer, who was killed instantly by an explosion while clearing a field in Pailin province on Tuesday, show that he was in the process of excavating an anti-personnel mine when the blast occurred.

Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), said Wednesday that Pen Sisivannak, 47, a 16-year CMAC veteran, was working with a team of eight other deminers in Sala Krao district when the mine exploded.

“During the excavation, we believe that it exploded in his face,” said Mr. Ratana. “We are not able to verify if he was doing [the excavation] in the right way yet, but we know the incident took place during excavation for sure.”

Mr. Ratana said a damaged excavation tool, which likely struck Pen Sisivannak, led investigators to this initial conclusion.

“This is rare,” he said, noting that just 12 deminers have died while working to rid Cambodia of its unexploded ordnance since 1993.

consiglio@cambodiadaily.com, rith@cambodiadaily.com

© 2015, All rights reserved.