Wife of SA man killed by landmine unsure if there's anything left of him to bury

2019-01-23 16:29
Nandi Schoeman and her children, Donovan (19), Nina (9) and Morne (19).

Nandi Schoeman and her children, Donovan (19), Nina (9) and Morne (19). (Deaan Vivier)

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The wife of one of the South Africans killed in a landmine accident in Maa'rib in Yemen said she was unsure whether there was anything left of her husband to bury.  

Netwerk24 reported on Wednesday that Modimolle-based Nandi Schoeman, 44, was still awaiting the results of an investigation into the death of her husband, Pieter, 45, another South African, Johan de Haan, 48, and three of their colleagues.

The men had been contracted to disarm and remove landmines from the area.

The MASAM Demining Project said five demining specialists – the two South Africans, a Croatian, a Bosnian and a Kosovar – were killed on Sunday while transporting the material in the central Marib province to a remote location where it could be safely detonated, AP reported.

It said a British national was wounded. According to reports, he is still unconscious following the incident.

The project, part of the Saudi King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, began in 2018 and seeks to remove unexploded ordnance from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been at war with Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 2015.

The men were working for SafeLane Global in solidarity with Project Masam.

Nandi described Pieter – the father of her twin 19-year-old boys and a 9-year-old girl – as a family man who spent as much time as he could with her and the children to make up for being away for work, Netwerk24 reported.

Nandi told Netwerk24 SafeLane had asked for 72 hours to investigate the incident. The company reportedly said it would send a coffin to South Africa, but that it would not necessarily contain Pieter's remains.

"If nothing remained of Pieter, I would like them to at least send me his belongings," Nandi told Netwerk24.

According to Netwerk24, the Schoeman family are planning a memorial where friends and family will be asked to bring roses because Pieter's favourite song was Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi.

SafeLane wrote on its website: "…an unplanned detonation occurred which resulted in the instant loss of life of five staff.

"The staff were working for SafeLane Global in solidarity with Project Masam.

"SafeLane Global extends sincere condolences to the families and friends of those whose lives were tragically lost.

"Each individual was a highly experienced and respected unexploded ordnance professional, undertaking selfless and courageous work in a very challenging environment.

"SafeLane Global will continue to support the families of those affected."

Little is known about De Haan, except that he worked as a project manager for SafeLane.

Read more on:    yemen  |  accidents
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