I was trained to clear mines, booby traps and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the Royal Australian Engineers. Not trained to the standard of our Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officers, but well enough to know you don’t use a welder on a bomb. Without seeing the device it is hard to appreciate what they were thinking, other than it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Sadly, for these men and their families, it wasn’t.
Typically the report is inaccurate, the MkII is a WW2 vintage hand grenade but the M26 is a more recent model,introduced in the 1950s and used during the Vietnam War and others. The M26 is a particularly powerful grenade and the lethality of this is attested to in this report from South Africa.http://www.safpj.co.za/index.php/safpj/article/view/998/1591
In 1994 I was at an LRT station just minutes before a hand grenade was lobbed down a crowded stairwell. If I had been going for the train after the one I caught I would probably have been on that stairwell.
I don’t think the Philippines is anymore likely to get you killed via explosion than anywhere else these days, but at times of civil unrest it pays to stay away from public places like malls and transport hubs. Keep an eye on the news and a finger on the political pulse, it might save your life.
4 killed while defusing bomb in Taguig
PhilstarPhilstar – Thu, Jan 26, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – At least four people died while nine others were wounded when a bomb they were trying to defuse at a welding shop exploded in Taguig City yesterday afternoon.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Alan Purisima identified to the victims as PO2 Elizalde Bisaya and PO3 Jose Torralba, both of the Special Action Force-Explosives Ordnance Division (SAF-EOD); welding shop owner Crisanto Daguio and bakery owner Riza Romualdo.
Another SAF member, Arnold Mayo, was among the injured.
Bobbyrondo Niuda, who witnessed the incident from the second floor of his house, said the SAF-EOD team brought the ammunition to the Chris Welding Shop along Daisy street in Barangay Lower Bicutan in Taguig City at around 2:45 p.m. He said the team first used a pipe wrench then a welder to defuse the bomb.
“I know it was wrong. I wanted to shout but I did not because I thought they knew what they were doing. They were in uniform and I find it embarrasing to correct them,” said Niuda, who claimed he underwent bomb training while working for a security agency.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome ordered an investigation into the accident.
“There is a lapse here. They should not have defused it using a welder,” said Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario, head of the Taguig police.
Meanwhile, in Caloocan City, Inspector Rolando Armendez, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) chief, said a blue bag left on the road in Barangay 172 yesterday morning was found to contain at least four World War II-vintage hand grenades.
Two MK2 high velocity fragmentation grenades and two M26 hand grenades were turned over to the bomb disposal squad for safekeeping. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jerry Botial – By Aie Balagtas See and Non Alquitran (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)