Young man killed by poisonous gas
A YOUNG man lost his life early this week when he reportedly inhaled poisonous gas while attending to a logging barge owned by loggers Samlimsan Company.
The man, in his 20s, from Isabel, died after he reportedly inhaled poisonous gasoline from the barge, which was loaded and ready to sail out to Malaita on Monday.
Police media unit last night alleged the incident occurred when the deceased was working on checking a fuel tank depo- as two barge ships were transferring fuel from one to another.
“The deceased employee decided to open up the fuel tank man-hole, in order to check the fuel to verify if the fuel wasn’t mixed up salt water and as such he opened the man-hole and went inside, he failed to come back.
“The absence of the deceased forced one of his colleagues to make an attempt to rescue him, but he too was overwhelmed by the toxic fumes inside the bulkhead, which is presumed to be carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide that he was luckily dragged out quickly and was taken to the National referral hospital at Honiara.”
The Royal Solomon Island Police Criminal Investigation Unit at Honiara, are investigating the incident.
Police firefighters helped to retrieved the body after an hour of work through the fuel tank and the body was brought to the National Hospital mortuary.
A police criminal file was opened for the report on investigation.
A former work colleague of the deceased, Tome Joshua, said the death comes as a shock to colleagues and former work mates of the deceased.
“The young man met his untimely death while on duty, pumping fuel from the other barge to the one that was ready to sail,” Mr Joshua said.
A relative of the deceased confirmed the story, adding the young man’s body was taken to his home village yesterday.
The Solomon Star understands a similar incident happened some three years ago at a different barge owned by another logging company.
In 2013, two male (one from Western, another from Choiseul) also died after inhaling poisonous gasoline.
The two men collapsed and died after suffocating from the hot and contaminated air inside the hatch of the barge.
The two were believed to have opened the lid of the hatch and went in. The first one climbed down into the hatch, collapsed and died.
The second man was said to have seen what happened so he decided to go down to check on his mate and rescued him but also collapsed and died.
The third colleague of the two deceased saw what happened, was afraid to follow through, turned around and rushed to report the matter to other colleagues.
Mr Joshua said his friend’s unacceptable death was a result of the failure by companies to recruit trained sea men.
“Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Authority (SIMSA) should step up its operations to track down ship operators that have recruited employees with little or no knowledge of sea safety.
“If they have played their role, my young friend would have not died.
“This is a result of negligence by the company and the rightful authorities,” Mr Joshua charged.
A female officer from the Samlimsan office at Ranadi also confirmed the incident and said that the company has met all the costs to transport the body of the deceased to his home village.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA