One employee of the British demining organisation Halo Trust died and another was injured after an antipersonnel mine exploded while they were working in Pailin province on Friday, the organisation confirmed.
Loeung Reaksmey, 54, died immediately after a Russian-made PMN2 antipersonnel mine exploded as he and his assistant were attempting to remove it from the ground, said Keo Pov, a Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) official in Pailin province. His technical assistant, Ngun Thany, 28, was seriously injured and sent via helicopter to a hospital in Battambang province.
“Thany was injured on her face and body, but the doctor at the emergency hospital successfully operated [on her] and rescued her life,” Pov said.
Halo representatives said Reaksmey was an experienced deminer who had been working with the organisation since 2003.
“His recent work at Ba Huy, a small village on the border with Thailand, was equally important, with himself and his colleagues having cleared 1,458 landmines from 28 minefields surrounding the community,” Halo said in a statement. “Initial findings indicate that Mr Reaksmey and his colleague were preparing a lane ahead of clearance and initiated an anti-personnel mine.”
Chea Chandin, Pailin provincial police chief, said this was the first time a Halo employee died in the province. “In the past, some people were injured and died because of mines while they were foraging, ploughing rice fields, or hunting wild animals along the Cambodia-Thailand border,” he noted.
On Saturday, Cambodian Red Cross agents visited the hospital and offered Thany food and monetary assistance, he added.