350-kg Wartime Bomb Found Near National Highway in Central Vietnam

Bomb disposal experts in Quang Binh Province have successfully defused a rare bomb found near National Highway 1A after consulting their U.S. counterparts. A local family in the province's Quan Hau town reportedly discovered the large wartime bomb Tuesday while digging their house foundation. Authorities subsequently identified the bomb as a 750-LB GP M117. It weighs nearly 350 kilograms (772 pounds) and has a length of 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) and diameter of 40 centimeters (16 inches). Its detonator, of a rare type that can be initiated by an elastic spring, was found intact, prompting the district's military not to move the bomb until it could be safely defused. It got personnel from the local militia to keep watch over it during the period. Experts from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a group specializing in detecting and handling unexploded ordnance, meanwhile sought advice from their U.S. counterparts on how to safely dispose of the bomb. Eventually on Thursday morning local authorities evacuated nearby houses and blocked National Highway 1A for half an hour during which time MAG experts removed the detonator and took the bomb to a safe location for disposal. According to statistics from the Technology Center for Bomb and Mine Disposal, all 159 of Quang Binh Province's communes, wards and towns are contaminated by UXO, which is spread over an area of over 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) or 28.2% of the province's total area. Since 1975 UXO-related accidents in the province have killed over 2,930 people and injured another 3,820. (VnExpress Mar 15)