11-Year-Old Lucky to be Alive after UXO Encounter

Solomon Islands An eleven-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after suffering from severe burns to both hands from allegedly playing with a WWII 81mm mortar round. The munition had been exposed due to recent bad weather.

According to the boy's older brother, he spotted the 81mm mortar on the ground after climbing a tree. He climbed down and went to play with the munition.

When he reached down to touch it, he caught on fire, causing severe burns to boy's legs and hands. An elderly man who happened to be nearby, quickly put out the fire.

The boy was rushed to the National Referral Hospital where he is recovering from his wounds. The incident was reported to Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Bomb Disposal Team at Hells Point.

The Bomb Disposal Team responded to the next day and removed the remains of the 81mm mortar round identified as a White Phosphorous round. In addition, over 2 dozen other mortars were found and recovered after a search of the area.

A statement from police reminded everyone, "The RSIPF strongly calls on members of the public not to touch or go near any of unexploded munitions under any circumstances. Any sightings must be reported immediately."

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