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Two deminers remain hospitalised

Two Americans injured one week ago in a demining accident remained hospitalised yesterday, one in the intensive care ward.

The other two victims of last week’s accident were discharged earlier this week, said staff at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok.

On January 15, the four expert deminers were seriously wounded when a 23-millimeter anti-aircraft bullet exploded as the group attempted to disarm it for later use as a teaching aide.

Three of the men were US Marines who had come to Cambodia to run a multiweek training course for Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) deminers.

The fourth was a senior employee of demining NGO Golden West Humanitarian foundation, which shares CMAC’s Kampong Chhnang facility.

All highly experienced, the men sustained a slew of injuries ranging from burns to shrapnel wounds to internal bleeding.

One man lost an eye, while another required an operation on his neck.

The most severely injured of the four has had multiple abdominal and vascular surgeries and remained in the intensive care ward as of yesterday afternoon, a hospital employee said.

The US Embassy in Bangkok declined to comment on the men’s conditions, citing privacy concerns.

CMAC, the Marines and Golden West Humanitarian Foundation are all running ongoing investigations into the episode.

Officials at all three organisations said yesterday they were unable to provide updates on the inquiries or predict when they would conclude.

“We’re trying not to be rushed,” said CMAC director general Heng Ratana.

“We have a number of activities [ongoing]. We’re conducting an internal investigation by CMAC, but we’re also sharing information jointly with Golden West... and working very closely with relevant partners.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Abby Seiff at abby.seiff@phnompenhpost.com

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