Deminer Rodgers Mandava working to clear minefields in the Falkland Islands, was injured during an accident in a Moody Valley clearance operation on February 27, has recovered well from his injuries and work has resumed in the area, according to a report published by the Penguin News.
Dynasafe BACTEC (DBL) Project Manager Julius Unsung explained that an internal investigation had taken place and there were no underlying safety issues which would necessitate further changes to the way in which the deminers conduct their work.
Mr. Unsung said Mr. Mandava who is an experienced deminer, had carried out all of his drills correctly on the day of the accident. It is thought that the mine had been in a tilted position and his tool had glanced the top of the mine from the side with enough force to cause it to detonate.
He said that immediately after the incident the site was closed and all deminers, the supervisors and managers underwent a period of refresher training to emphasize the delicate excavation required when investigating signals or areas where mines are suspected to be present.
A minor change in DBL’s operating procedures has been made in response to the findings of the investigation to further reduce the risk of such an incident occurring in the future.
Mr. Mandava had several stitches in his right forefinger and the web of his right hand. At the time of the incident Rodgers was wearing the full protective deminer’s vest and visor which undoubtedly prevented serious injuries to his face and upper body.
“The treatment he received at KEMH was excellent and all DBL Staff, most especially Rodgers, would like to thank all of those involved with the prompt and speedy treatment he received,” said Mr. Unsung.
The minefields are a legacy of the Argentine military occupation of the Falkland Islands in 1982. Many of the minefields are surrounding the capital Stanley, leaving much of common ground out of bounds for the Falkland Islanders.
In early January a Foreign Office team visited the Falklands and anticipated that 46 minefields will be cleared over the next two years in the Mount Longdon and Stanley areas. The operation will be financed with a budget of £ 20 million.
Currently, Phase 5 which commenced in October last year has removed more than 2,000 anti-personnel mines and over 50 anti-vehicle mines. Phases completed between 2009 and 2016 have cleared more than 30 minefields.
As part of the demining process this Friday there will be three demolitions between 10am and 14:00, to the West of the old Moody Brook Barracks in the Moody Valley. (PN).