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First underwater bomb destroyed

By: MAG Posted: August-03-2009 in
Bui Xuan Hoang, pictured holding one of the pieces of the bomb after the historic demolition - Photo Dan Tri

MAG has helped to destroy a 500-pound bomb that local fishermen found embedded in a coral reef at the seaside resort of Da Nhay in Quang Binh province, central Vietnam.

Thirty families from the surrounding area were temporarily evacuated and road traffic was stopped on the Ly Hoa mountain pass section of National Highway Number 1 ahead of the demolition, which created a huge explosion spreading pieces of the bomb over hundreds of metres.

The bomb was demolished by the local Military Commanding Unit, following technical advice from MAG. The whole operation was conducted in close cooperation with the district People’s Committee.

It was the first time MAG Vietnam had ever dealt with an underwater item of unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Depending on the tide, the bomb sometimes lay just two metres underwater, while the weather added to the challenge, as a strong wind created rough seas.

“It was really tough but, technically, we’ve learnt a lot from this new experience. We did it, and we did it well,” said Mr Bui Xuan Hoang, supervisor of the Mine Action Team involved.

“It was the technical quality provided by MAG, together with the strong coordination between MAG and relevant agencies, that made the hard task complete.”

Excited onlookers surrounded MAG Vietnam’s Technical Operations Coordinator, Mr Tran Xuan Thang, after the detonation.

“They repeatedly asked me how the demolition could be conducted underwater!” he said. “I told them that we are confident to handle this kind of task if it arises again.”

Da Nhay is in Bo Trach district, which is also home to Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

MAG commenced work in the district in 2004 and conducted various mobile operations and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) tasks with funding from the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

So far, the teams have cleared 17,614 square metres of land, removing approximately 13,000 items of UXO.

Source: MAG International


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