World War II bomb explodes after being found in drought-stricken Italian river
A large World War II bomb discovered in a river in Italy during a severe drought has been safely dismantled, the military said.
Fishermen discovered the US-made device, weighing 450kg and containing 240kg of explosives, in the dry Po River on July 25.
The discovery comes after river levels fell to a record low after months of little rain.
“The bomb was found by fishermen on the banks of the Po River due to a drop in water levels due to drought,” Colonel Marco Nasi said.
About 3,000 people living in the surrounding area had to evacuate their homes before remediation could take place.
“At first, some residents said they would not move,” said Francesco Aporti, mayor of Borgo Virgilio, a village located near the city of Mantua.
However, the authorities were successful in convincing them to leave the property so that the bomb was moved to a nearby quarry to detonate. They were allowed to return home on Sunday afternoon after the engineers had completed the operation.
Before the bomb was destroyed, a section of the river and the area’s airspace was closed. A local railway line and nearby roads were also temporarily closed.
The controlled explosion occurred at a quarry in the city of Medole, 45 kilometers (30 miles) from where it was found.
The Po, the country’s longest river, is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years, raising concerns about its effect on the agricultural sector.
Due to a lack of rain, Italy has banned the use of water cannons in some areas and imposed a state of emergency in areas including Lombardy and Piedmont, which will last until the end of the year.
Temperatures in Italy were already about 3 degrees warmer than the seasonal average from May to July, as Europe faced record temperatures.