Bomb blast kills top local aviation engineer and youth leader
GOVERNMENT through the Ministry of Aviation and Communication (MCA) is mourning the loss of one of our top local qualified aviation engineers who was killed in a bomb blast incident yesterday.
Raziv Hilly, from Vella La Vella and Rannoggah in Western Province, was one of the four that got injured from the impact of the blast.
They were rushed to the National Referral Hospital (NRH) for medical attention. However, young Hilly could not survive his injury.
The incident occurred around 3 pm on Sunday afternoon at Lengakiki Heights in West Honiara.
Police in a statement last night said the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team responded to the bomb blast, which has killed a male person and left three others in critical condition.
Officer In-charge (OIC), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team, Inspector Clifford Tunuki said; “one of the four casualties has been confirmed dead, other two in critical condition and one has some minor injuries.”
OIC Tunuki said, there are two females among the three casualties currently at NRH, whilst a male person was pronounced dead.
Inspector Tunuki said, based on information they have gathered. Some youths came together at the place of the incident (Lengakiki) to do a fundraising drive.
“They prepared some food, select a site, and erect a fire to cook the food. Without realising that there is a bomb laying underground on the location which they built the fire on,” he said.
He said, police have responded to the incident and secured the scene after the blast.
“RSIPF Forensic and EOD team are working together to investigate the sad incident. The scene is cleared but still subject to investigation,” he said.
Mr. Tunuki said EOD experts have identified the bomb which is a US 105mm High Explosive Projectile that remains after the World War II.
“Other parts of the bomb was safely transported to Hells Points since the base of the bomb still contains explosives for render safe.
“My condolences to the family of the deceased for the tragic loss of one of their family members,” said OIC Tunuki.
Provincial Police Commander (PPC) for Honiara City John Matamaru earlier told SIBC News that the group have done some cooking under a mango tree without realizing that there is an unexploded bomb underground.
PPC Matamaru said the bomb might have exploded because of the intense heat from the fire that was used for cooking.
Meanwhile, condolences have been expressed for the loss of the young man who is believed to be 29 years of age.
Many have expressed shock at the sudden passing of this young lad who has a bright future to serve the country and the church.
Trevor Veo, Director Aviation Policy at the Ministry of Aviation and Civil Aviation (MCA) described Hilly’s passing as a huge loss with a significant setback for the current expansion of the Honiara International Terminal project and other aviation projects around the country.
Mr. Veo who also works closely with Mr. Hilly in all aviation projects said, late Hilly after completing his education at Kukudu Adventist College and King George Sixth School went on to study civil engineering at the Fiji National University (FNU).
He returned to the country and the joined MCA team more than five years ago.
At the time of his passing, he was the Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO), Aviation Engineer and Property Manager.
In his role as an engineer, Late Hilly oversees all the aviation projects both domestic and international.
These included the main Honiara international airport improvement project in Honiara, the Munda airport project, and others around the provinces.
“So his passing is a huge loss to the ministry, government, the project, and the nation as a whole given his active involvement in the project.
“Because he works closely with the Japanese engineers under the JICA project and Solomon Islands Road Aviation Project (SIRAP),” Mr. Veo said.
During last month’s progressive visit by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his delegation on Friday, April 16th Mr. Hilly was the master of ceremony (MC) at the ceremony and also led one of the groups to see the work that has taken place so far at the site.
His engineering knowledge was evident given the clear explanation of the various work that is being involved so far.
“We don’t have such a qualified and dedicated engineer within the ministry. So we will surely miss him and his contribution to all our ongoing projects,” Mr. Veo said last night.
Apart from being a leader at the government level, Mr. Hilly was also a youth leader in one of the SDA youth clubs in Honiara.
He has been heavily involved in church activities over the past years.
And for that most of those who came to know him have lost for words when the news of his passing was confirmed.
Some described him as a ‘God-fearing man’.
The blast on Sunday was heard several kilometres away.
Meanwhile, following Sunday’s blast there’s a call for developers to conduct underground inspection they plan to build or develop on a new site.
By MOFFAT MAMU