A 38-year-old man lost his arm when after he accidentally detonated an anti-tank mine while operating a paddy rice cutter in Chouk Chey, O’Beichoan commune in O’Chrov district, Banteay Meanchey province on Monday afternoon.
O’Beichoan commune chief Tol Sarin, who visited the scene with joint district police officials, identified the victim as Chrun Thoeun from Battambang province.
Thoeun lives in Kom Krom village, Russey Kraing commune in Moung Russey district and owned the paddy rice cutter. He was hired by Buth Bunthorn to harvest around 2ha of rice.
“The harvesting was incompleted and when the victim rode over the anti-tank mine, triggering an explosion which overturned the paddy rice cutter. His right arm was blown up to his armpit and his legs and parts of the body had light injuries,” he said.
Sarin said after the accident, Bunthorn sent the victim to a hospital in Thailand while the paddy rice cutter remained at the scene for inspection.
Sarin said the area was one of the main battlefields where the Khmer Rouge and government troops crossed fire between 1980 and 1990. Even after the area was converted into agricultural land, farmers still experienced accidents from unexploded ordnances (UXO).
The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC)’s in Banteay Meanchey province must clear the paddy field to ensure safety.
CMAC provincial head Sam Vireak told The Post that after the local authority alerted him of the accident, he sent a team to the scene on Monday evening. They searched for other UXOs at the site but did not recover any. “
This location is an old farming land which had already been cleared of mines,” he said.
Since 2006, Vireak’s unit has cleared more than 82.4sq km of land, searched and removed more than 51,094 anti-personnel mines, 899 anti-tank mines, and 71,392 types of various other UXOs, which include 5,126 kg of bullets, he said.