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Unexploded Bomb Recovered from Deep in a River

Journalists take photograph of a bomb pulled from the murky depths of the Mekong River on Thursday.

Cambodian authorities have recovered an unexploded bomb from a river in Kandal province, after a fisherman reported it.

Heang Rattana, director general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, said the explosive, dropped during the US bombing campaign of the 1970s, was five meters under water and weighed more than 200 kilograms.

A team of specialists trained by US military personnel recovered the bomb, a Mark 82, and stored it at a CMAC warehouse, he said.

“In the past, deep-water demining was very difficult, but now we’re using this new technique, and it has proven much easier,” he said. “It was the first time we recovered a big bomb from deep water this way.”

An estimated 2.7 million tons of ordnance were dropped on Cambodia during the US campaign, as its conflict with Vietnam spilled into Cambodia. Much of the ordnance that failed to explode remains scattered across the countryside.

Heang Rattana said his agency has recovered a small portion of those. “We have so far demined between 3,000 and 4,000 unexploded bombs only,” he said.