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VOP Nováky shaken by another blast, one person seriously injured

In the latest in a series of such incidents, a 36-year-old man was injured in a grenade blast at a shooting range at the Military Maintenance Company (Vojenský opravárenský podnik-VOP) in Nováky on October 22 morning. The man was admitted to the hospital in Bojnice in a serious condition, with injuries to his abdomen, head and arm, said Boris Chmel, spokesman for the Operational Centre of the Emergency Health Service, according to TASR newswire.

In the latest in a series of such incidents, a 36-year-old man was injured in a grenade blast at a shooting range at the Military Maintenance Company (Vojenský opravárenský podnik-VOP) in Nováky on October 22 morning.

The man was admitted to the hospital in Bojnice in a serious condition, with injuries to his abdomen, head and arm, said Boris Chmel, spokesman for the Operational Centre of the Emergency Health Service, according to TASR newswire.

Armed Forces spokesman Milan Vanga said that the man was a civilian employee of VOP's centre for grenade testing. He sustained the injuries during a URG-86 grenade test. Defence Ministry State Secretary Miloš Koterec and Chief-of-General-Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Peter Vojtek visited VOP, arranging for the accident to be investigated by the military police and the area to be checked by bomb disposal experts.

The company has been plagued by uncontrolled explosions over the past few years. Eight people were killed and another 37 were injured at VOP when a large amount of ammunition ignited at the company's defusing hall in March 2007. Last year, one person was killed and three people sustained minor injuries in a grenade explosion in the military area adjacent to VOP.

“What we care about most at the moment is for the injured man to recover,” said Koterec. “His medical condition has stabilised and he's been transported to the Faculty Hospital in Martin.”

According to Vojtek, all the grenades tested on October 22 were checked the previous day by x-ray, and their mechanical parts were deemed to be in order.

“Practical tests of grenades were carried out on that day,” he added. “Overall, 23 grenades were tested and passed as being in order. It was likely that when the 24th grenade was being thrown when the explosive ignited. The employee had all the protective equipment and all protective measures were observed. Despite this, he suffered injuries. Experts will now look into how the grenade could have ignited when all the mechanical parts were intact in their proper place.”

A likely outcome of the investigation will be an army ban on the use of this particular type of grenade, Vojtek said, with the remaining 130,000 grenades incinerated.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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