A WELDER was killed in an explosion that threw his body up into the air at the Pacific Casino Hotel sea front in Honiara yesterday.
This happened when the Malaita man and his colleague were welding an aluminum boat.
They were employees of Oceanic Marine Equipment Ltd, and were working on the boat, which the owner purchased from their company.
His colleague, who asked not to be named, was some distance away when the explosion occurred.
“The explosion occurred while we were having a break,” the colleague said.
“At that time, I decided to leave the boat and walked over to pick up empty cases that we could use to put up as a shade because the heat from the sun was very strong.
“When I left, my colleague was sitting on top of the boat. It was on my return, but still some distance away, that the explosion from the gas cylinder occurred.
“It was terribly shocking. The explosion blew my colleague up in the air, above this building,” he said, pointing to the building housing the Cowboys Grill and Bar.
Certain parts of the boat were also blown away.
He said his friend’s body then came down and landed in the waters just beside the boat.
“He sustained serious injuries to his low part of his body, resulting in his death.
“It was a shocking and terrible disaster,” he said.
A spokesman for Oceanic Marine Equipment confirmed the deceased was one of their employees.
“We still do not know the cause of the explosion and how it happened at this stage,” the spokesman told the Solomon Star.
“We will leave that for the police investigation to determine,” he added.
Those within the vicinity have described the explosion as that of a huge bomb being dropped from the sky.
“It was like a bomb. We all covered our heads when it occurred,” one eye-witness said.
“The explosion was like some of the scenes I watch in action movies. It was so loud and terrifying.”
A welder spoken to said he believed the explosion must have been triggered by gas pressure within the cylinder when covered at the top
“That pressure was further ignited by the heat from the sun, resulting in this unfortunate incident,” he said.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI