Explosion at Bulgarian military plant kills US citizen

Blast in Bulgarian VMZ-Sopot kills US citizen and injures four people one day after appointment of new CEO

Photo by: VMZ
Photo by: VMZ

Updated Jul 28, 2015

One United States citizen was killed and four people were injured on Saturday in an explosion at Bulgaria’s biggest military industrial enterprise complex, VMZ-Sopot.

“The U.S. Embassy regretfully confirms the death of one Department of Defense contractor and the injury of two other contractors and a Bulgarian translator in a training accident on June 6 in Anevo,” the US embassy in Sofia said in a statement.

Following the explosion, Sopot Municipality Mayor Veselin Lichev said that “Together with the district governor we were attending the official inauguration of a museum house of Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov, which marked [the] 80th anniversary [of his death]. About five minutes after that we were at the firing ground. The matter in point concerns a training, in which there are foreign citizens reportedly injured.”

“There is no panic in the town [of Sopot], there is no danger of new explosions,” Lichev added.

Bulgarian authorities are still investigating cause of the incident.

In March, there were also two explosions in the Bulgarian state-owned military plant VMZ-Sopot’s Iganovo, causing halt of production for two months.

On Thursday, VMZ Sopot CEO Ivan Stoenchev resigned after worker protests over the explosions and the halting of production at the military site.

Bogdan Bogdanov has been appointed as the new CEO of the military organisation. Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said that mismanagement problems have been found through investigations.

Lukarski has announced that production shall restart soon and urges workers to stop protesting.

TRTWorld and agencies