Bomb clearance expert killed by blast during central Vietnam mission

By Nguyen Phuc, Thanh Nien News

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The site where a cluster bomb exploded and killed a bomb clearance expert in Quang Tri Province May 18. Photo: Nguyen Phuc/Thanh Nien The site where a cluster bomb exploded and killed a bomb clearance expert in Quang Tri Province May 18. Photo: Nguyen Phuc/Thanh Nien

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A member of the Norwegian-funded ordnance clearance project RENEW in Quang Tri Province was killed on duty Wednesday morning.
Ngo Van Khiet, 45, was leading a team to survey a cluster bomb site in the central province and one bomb suddenly went off. He died at a local hospital. 
Nguyen Van Hao, a 43-year-old team member, is treated at the same hospital for injuries.
Also on Wednesday morning, experts from the British Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in the province safely removed a bomb of nearly 500 kilograms left from the Vietnam War, which ended more than 40 years ago.
Construction workers found the bomb, of more than 1.8 meters long, two meters underground at a busy road intersection.
Police and military officials had to block the streets around the site for hours to remove the bomb.
MAG experts said the bomb is an 1,000-lb MK83 bomb, which was used by the US during the war.
An MK83 found under a busy road intersection in Quang Tri Province on May 18, 2016. Photo: Nguyen Phuc/Thanh Nien
Quang Tri was the location for one of the American military bases during the most deadliest years of the Vietnam War and a main battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
An estimated 400,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) remain buried across 480,000 hectares of land in the province. They can be found in residential areas, gardens and even under the floors of houses.
Across Vietnam, unexploded ordnance still threatens a fifth of land mass and explosions occur frequently.
Deputy Minister of Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh said last October that the explosions kill more than 1,500 people every year and maim and injure 2,200 more.
In some cases, the victims were poor people who tried to salvage scrap metal from bombs.
Editor's note: The story has been revised to reflect the bomb found in Quang Tri Province on May 18 was a MK83 bomb, not MK8.

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