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Agriculture machinist dies after shell goes off in workshop

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An official from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) inspects a workshop in Kandal province where the head of a 105mm shell exploded, killing a man who was working with it. CMAC

Agriculture machinist dies after shell goes off in workshop

A man died after the head of a 105mm shell he was working with in his workshop exploded in Kandal province on Sunday. The incident occurred in Pnhea Leu district’s Chrey Las commune.

District deputy police chief in charge of order and unexploded ordnances (UXO) Toem Vutha told The Post that before the incident, people saw 51-year-old Y Sarin, the owner of an agriculture machinery shop, in the commune.

He allegedly took the head of the 105mm shell into his workshop to use it to build a piece of equipment. About 30 minutes later, a loud explosion was heard coming from the shop which shocked his family, neighbours and local authorities.

Vutha said: “The[UXO’s head exploded, leaving the victims’ remains scattered throughout the room.”

He said the authorities examined the victim’s scrap pile and found two more pieces of 105 mm shells which they confiscated to hand over to expert officials for destruction.

Sarin’s 25-year-old son Yorn Thanong told The Post on Monday that his father had used bullets to make various parts before. He said his father bought the bullets from a village scrap dealer 10 years ago.

“My father used to take old artillery shell heads to make parts for a variety of agricultural machinery, and he never had any problems doing so.

“But on Sunday [June 28], I don’t know if there was a technical error, but the shell exploded and killed him,” Thanong said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The man allegedly used the head of the 105mm shell to build a piece of equipment. CMAC

Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana appealed to people to stop using explosive remnants of war to make tools because it is illegal and life-threatening.

Ratana said: “First of all, I would like to extend my condolences to the deceased family. I also call on people, especially scrap vendors, to stop recycling explosive remnants of war as it is illegal and harmful to their life and the lives of their family members and neighbours.”

In a separate incident in Battambang province, Rukhak Kiri district police reported that on Sunday afternoon, a man in a tractor ploughed over a landmine which exploded, injuring his leg and destroying the tractor.

District police chief Chheam Mab identified the victim as 35-year-old Chun Nal, a resident of Kraghnam Morn Village, O’Taporng commune, Bakan district, Pursat province.

Nal was working as a tractor driver for a private company. The victim was taken by villagers and authorities to Battambang provincial hospital for treatment, Mab said.

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