Extreme drought reveals unexploded WWII bomb in dried-up Italian river

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An unexploded World War Two bomb which was once submerged in a river in Italy has been discovered due to an extreme drought, the BBC reported on Monday.

The bomb, which weighs 450 kilograms, was found by a fisherman on the banks of the depleted Po River near the Lombardi village of Borgo Virgilio in Italy amid a historic European heatwave in July.

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“The bomb was found by fishermen on the bank of the Po River,” army official Colonel Marco Nasi told Reuters news agency.

Members of the Italian army remove a World War Two bomb that was discovered in the dried-up River Po which has been suffering from the worst drought in 70 years, in Borgo Virgilio, Italy, August 7, 2022. (Reuters)
Members of the Italian army remove a World War Two bomb that was discovered in the dried-up River Po which has been suffering from the worst drought in 70 years, in Borgo Virgilio, Italy, August 7, 2022. (Reuters)

Italian military officials have said that the unexploded bomb contained around 240kg of explosive.

An estimated 3,000 residents were subsequently evacuated once the bomb was discovered to allow for disposal experts to diffuse it safely in a controlled explosion on Sunday.

A World War Two bomb discovered in the dried-up river Po is detonated by 10th Engineer Regiment of Italian Army in Medole, Italy, August 7, 2022. (Reuters)
A World War Two bomb discovered in the dried-up river Po is detonated by 10th Engineer Regiment of Italian Army in Medole, Italy, August 7, 2022. (Reuters)

“At first, some of the inhabitants said they would not move, but in the last few days we think we have persuaded everyone,” local mayor Francesco Apori reportedly said.

The area’s airspace and river traffic on the waterway were also closed for a short time.

The Po is Italy’s longest river, flowing eastward across northern Italy starting from the Cottian Alps and ranges between 652 or 682 kilometers in length. Large parts of the river have dried up in Italy’s worst drought for 70 years, the BBC reported.

 A view shows parts of the dried-up River Po that has been suffering from the worst drought in 70 years, near Borgo Virgilio, Italy, August 7, 2022. (Reuters)
A view shows parts of the dried-up River Po that has been suffering from the worst drought in 70 years, near Borgo Virgilio, Italy, August 7, 2022. (Reuters)

Regular hot weather and low rainfall levels have contributed to the drying up of the river as well as northern Italy’s water shortages, heightening climate change fears.

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