LIMASSOL - Surgeons on Friday will continue efforts to save the right hand of a teenage National Guardsman injured when a defensive hand grenade he was holding exploded.
Underwater destruction squad conscript Andreas Doulapas, 19, from Nicosia and his training officer 38-year-old Limassol resident Athos Yiannakou were both injured in the noon blast at a firing range between Kalavassos and Asgata on Thursday.
Both men remained at Limassol General Hospital for treatment and observation last night.
After undergoing surgery for stomach injuries and a right hand—blown off in the explosion—Doulapas was being kept in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as a precaution, doctors said.
Surgeon Alkis Alkiviades is expected to continue efforts to repair the young man’s damaged hand today after examining his injuries during surgery.
Yiannakou was also due to remain in hospital overnight, again for precautionary reasons, after being treated for injuries to his face and body in the Casualty Department.
The condition of both men has been described as non-life threatening.
According to CyBC, Doulapas was twelfth in a line of 13 conscripts handling the defensive hand grenades under their trainer’s supervision.
The first 11 hand grenades were successfully disarmed without incident as part of a training exercise.
The batch of Egypt-made hand grenades, has since been sealed pending investigation.
Commenting on the accident on Thursday, acting Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos said it would be thoroughly investigated. Describing the event as “very serious,” he underlined what was most important was the recovery of those injured.
Hasikos also said a military doctor and ambulance had been at the scene but that it had been decided more prudent to call in an ambulance from Limassol General Hospital to transport the injured men.
National Guard and police experts visited the scene of the blast Thursday to begin investigations into its cause.
President Anastasiades, overseas on official business, has also ordered a full investigation and is being kept informed of developments.
The House Defence Committee issued a statement expressing its concern and sadness over the incident and said it would be holding a special session to discuss what happened as soon as committee chairman George Varnavas and a committee representation return from an official visit to Athens.
“The safety and health of National Guard personnel has always been and will always be a matter of high priority,” the committee statement said.
High ranking military officials including the deputy-commander of the National Guard stayed at the two injured men’s side late into the evening.
Anti-personnel fragmentation grenades can be divided into two main types, defensive and offensive.
Defensive grenades are designed to be used from a position of cover and have an effective radius greater than the distance it can be thrown.