One person was killed and three others sustained minor injuries in a grenade explosion that occurred in the military area adjacent to the Military Maintenance Company (VOP) in Nováky (Trenčín Region) on Wednesday, March 7, Trenčín regional police spokesperson Elena Antalová said, as reported by the TASR newswire. The accident occurred while VOP workers were engaged in reviewing work in the military area.
"Around 14:30, the rescue service brought in two male patients aged 50 and 56 who had been injured in an explosion in the VOP military area," Bojnice hospital director Ladislav Gerlich said.
Eight people were killed and 20 others were injured at VOP in Nováky in March 2007 when a large amount of ammunition at the company's decommissioning facility exploded.
The Sme daily reported that the current incident originated with claims of missing ammunition. In autumn 2011, the Slovak Army stated that ammunition was missing, but it was not clear whether the missing materiel amounted to 2 or 200 kilograms. On Wednesday, three civilian employees and one army pyrotechnics expert were doing a stock-take in the garrison at VOP when a grenade in a sealed case exploded, leaving one civilian dead. The grenade was part of a series that the army had complained about and was later re-issued with after supposed repairs. The men apparently had had no direct contact with the case – or grenade – before the explosion. One of the employees suffered only slight injuries and was treated on the spot; the other two were hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries.
At around 19:00 on March 7, Prime Minister Iveta Radičová (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)), who is also the current acting defence minister, visited Nováky together with the chief of the General Staff, Peter Vojtek. She stayed for about an hour. After talks with Vojtek, she said – as quoted by Sme – that all procedures and instructions ordered for stock-taking of ammunition were observed. Investigators do not know so far what caused the grenade, which was made in 1997, to explode. She recommended that Vojtek return this series of products to the producer and that further quality checks be carried out.
Sources: TASR, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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