Crime

Exeter Bomb Disposal Expert Killed While Dismantling ISIS Bomb in Syria

Former Lance Corporal Chris Harris was in newly-liberated Raqqa clearing ISIS explosives when an improvised electronic device (IED) detonated and killed him.

It was activated with a small crush wire switch. The 10-15kg device was hidden by sacks.

The blast took place near a warehouse, 140ms from the checkpoint.

Before leaving Raqqa, ISIS left booby traps throughout the war-torn country.

Chris’ inquest was read on 30 October.

The Exeter born 41-year-old had served in Royal Engineers and worked for Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was part of a team conducting a non-technical survey for an engineering firm Tetra Tech, on behalf of the US government, when he triggered the victim-activated device at a site where he was clearing similar bombs.

The bomb exploded at 10am on 24 October, 2017. He sustained multiple injuries to his left side, was rushed to hospital where he died at 11am.

His team leader, Andrew Eassery, was blown backwards by the device but was uninjured.

Two months before that time, he had gotten married to his wife Claudie, 34.

 

His body was formally identified by a friend, after being repatriated to the UK.

Following his death, Tetra Tech concluded that lessons have been learnt. The company said teams conducting such surveys should be issued drones. If they find a suspected IED, they should stop the survey and report the area as “confirmed hazardous”.

His father and brother thanked the coroner during the inquest but were unavailable for comment.

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