By: L.N. Reklai
January 10, 2017 (Koror, Palau) A 551lb 92 Class WWII aircraft bomb was safely removed after Surangel construction crew digging the main road to lay the new water pipes in Malakal, unearthed what they immediately recognized to be a EWR (explosive war remnant).
A photo of the bomb was immediately sent to Clear Ground Demining Steve Ballinger in Peleliu, who identified the bomb and advised Socio construction folks to place safety procedures in place including cordoning off the area, marking the bomb and posting sentries around the site until the demining crew could safely remove the dangerous ordinance.
“I’m glad to see that our demining trainings with construction workers are paying off, “ said Ballinger. Clear Ground Demining has been conducting demining workshop trainings with construction companies including Socio. “With the bomb set upward waiting to be hit, we are fortunate that the construction worker recognized it as it was unearthed. It would be a different story if he was not trained and thought the bomb was metal pipe,” added Ballinger.
Bureau of Public Safety, Norweigan People’s Aid and Socio construction folks ensured that public was kept away from the site until the bomb was safely removed to demolition site for denotation at scheduled date.
Clear Ground Demining team consisting of EOD expert Steve Ballinger and a trained local EOD personnel Morgan Matuoka safely removed the ordinance. They were escorted by the police to the demolition site in Aimeliik after the bomb extraction.
President Remengesau Jr. expressed his appreciation for the team work displayed in bomb-defusing event especially with major public infrastructure improvement works going on.
According to Clear Ground Demining historical research, the site where the bomb was found in Malakal had two (2) major searchlight positions, 7 semi-automatic antiaircraft guns which would explain the presence of the anti-invasion devise.
The site where the bomb was located is in close proximity to IP&E and Blue Bay fuel tank farms as well as other major tourist establishments.
Unexploded bombs from the WWII are still regularly being discovered in Palau. As development and growth continues, more such findings are expected. To date, CGD had removed and disposed over 50,000 unexploded ordinance with funding from Australian government.
According to a statement from the PPUC sent out to the media yesterday, that Water Supply System Improvement Project must continue in order to meet its March 19, 2018 completion date.
However it stated that “since the discovery of the unexploded ordinance at the construction site, PPUC continues to work on the project with more caution and diligence.”
PPPUC also lauded work done by Clear Ground Demining, Norwegian People’s Aid, Safety Office of the Bureau of Public Works, Surangel Construction, Bureau of Public Safety, and Japan Mine Action Service for resolving the issue. [/restrict]