A British bomb disposal expert has been killed in an explosion in the Solomon Islands.
Luke Atkinson, 57, was working for Norwegian People’s Aid, an 81-year-old humanitarian organisation, specialising in mine disposal and relief aid.
Mr Atkinson, from London, was a programme manager working on creating a database of unexploded ordnance, dating back to the Second World War. Trent Lee, an Australian in his 40s who was a chemical weapons adviser, was also killed.
Police are working overnight to clear the site of the explosion in a residential area of Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital.
The blast could reportedly be heard three miles away, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
"Explosives ordinance disposal officers will have to render the scene safe before forensics and other investigators access the scene to find out what happened," Inspector Clifford Tunuki said.
According to ABC, investigators are trying to ascertain why the explosives were taken to a flat, which serves as the project office.
The Solomon Islands, which was a major battleground in the war, is strewn with unexploded ordnance and workers have been trying to clear the site ahead of the 2023 Pacific Games.
“There is a worldwide problem with the remnants of war all kinds of munition are left after conflict and it takes a tremendous toll on societies,” Per Nergaard, the deputy general secretary of Norwegian People’s Aid, told the Telegraph.
“We have been doing for the last 25 years. We are among the largest in the humanitarian field.”
Mr Nergaard paid tribute to Mr Atkinson.
“Luke is a very experienced ex-army guy and worked with us for more than 10 years in various countries.
“I knew him very well, I have been working with him since the mid-90s. He was a fantastic person.
“You could deploy him at any theatre he would be an extremely accomplished manager at these kind situations.”