Man Dies After Hitting Mortar Shell on Tree

A man accidentally killed himself and injured two others in Preah Vihear province on Monday after he found an unexploded mortar shell and hit it against a tree, causing it to detonate, a military official said Tuesday.

Nuon Phearak, the military commander in Kulen district, where the accident took place, said Sup Sambath, 24, found the shell while planting a tree in Srayong commune with his friend and brother.

“Then one of them brought it to hit against a tree,” Mr. Phearak said.

“The UXO [unexploded ordnance] exploded and blew off the victim’s arm and seriously injured his body, causing him to die immediately.” Sup Sambath’s brother, Sup Sok, 18, and friend, Yin Saron, 28, suffered minor injuries, he added.

According to Mr. Phearak, a similar incident occurred in the district last year, when a 14-year-old boy found a piece of UXO and brought it to his classroom, where he detonated it by hitting it against a table, injuring 12 students.

In 2014, UXO explosions resulted in 157 casualties, including 21 deaths, according to the government.

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