The factory and house of Quach Huu Duc, 45, in Binh Duong Province's Thuan An Town, had its roof blown off in a war-era artillery shell explosion on Thursday. Photo by Do Truong
An artillery shell exploded at a carpenter's factory in Binh Duong Province, claiming the life of the facility's owner.
Police in Binh Duong's Thuan An Town said Friday that Quach Huu Duc, 45, bought the 105-caliber shell from a junk shop, whose location has yet to be identified.
At around 5 p.m. that day, he allegedly sawed and chiseled it at the factory, also his house, to remove the explosives. But they blew up instead.
The explosion blew off his right arm, and he also suffered several other injuries to his head and all over his body.
His neighbors rushed him to Binh Duong General Hospital in critical condition. He was then transferred to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, and died Friday.
The blast blew off his house's metal roof and collapsed a corner of a wall. It also broke the glass doors and windows and collapsed walls in two adjacent houses.
Thuan An Town police have collected remaining pieces of the shell at the scene to investigate the incident further.
Cao Thi Bich Tuyen, Duc's neighbor, told news website VnExpress: "I've just left the bedroom with my four-month-old baby when I heard an awful explosion, which shook the ground, and then a loud noise came from my wall."
"[But] fortunately, we escaped in time," Tuyen said, referring to the collapse of her house's roof and the cracks on the wall after pieces of the shell punctured it.
Research by the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, in 2002 found that 6.6 million hectares (16.3 million acres) of land in Vietnam was contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975.
Only 20 percent of UXO from war has been defused.
UXO, including bombs, shells and landmines, killed 42,135 people and injured 62,163 others between 1975 and 2000, with children accounting for 30 percent of the victims.
Under a national program, by 2015 Vietnam will finish mapping UXO spots nationwide and set up a data center on victims, the status of UXO contamination in the country, and the clearance process.
Many governments and organizations have helped Vietnam in its efforts to clear UXO and support its victims.
On December 16, the US signed a memorandum of understanding to help Vietnam overcome the consequences of the leftover UXO.
David Shear, the US ambassador to Vietnam, who signed the MoU on behalf of his country, said the US has provided Vietnam US$65 million for such mission since 2003.
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