Senri Tangata was just 11 years old when he picked up a bomb one afternoon while playing near his village in the Solomon Islands.
In 2021, Tangata stumbled across the old World War II mortar that was left lying in a creek.
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When he picked up the old 81mm bomb it poured white phosphorus all over his arms and hands.
“It exploded on my hand and I let it go, and I ran away,” he told 7NEWS.
The fingers on his left hand then fused into his palm, leaving his hand stuck in the one position.
The fingers on Tangata’s left hand were fused into his palm. Credit: 7NEWSSenri Tangata, now aged 13. Credit: 7NEWS
However, now at age 13, Tangata came to the attention of the Rotary clubs ROMAC programme, who flew him to Sydney Children’s Hospital for treatment to rebuild his hand.
Dr Phaethon Karagiannis told 7NEWS of the incredible surgery involving metal rods and skin grafts.
“We knew that there was going to be a multipart surgery once we pulled the fingers out of the palm and that there’d be a lot of missing tissue,” he said.
Rotary Club representative Ros Kelly told 7NEWS he came to the hospital with his “left hand all screwed up”.
“Now you can see he can fully open it up,” she said.
After lengthy physio, Tangata says he now dreams of becoming a doctor.
The Solomon Islands are still afflicted by unexploded bombs, which cause an average of 20 deaths a year.
It is expected to take some 140 years to find and clear all of the bombs left by Japan and the US.