An excavator operator was lucky to escape with his life on Monday evening after striking a 1970s-era Mk-82 bomb while digging in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district.
Chum Touch, police chief of Lbaing I commune, where the unexploded ordnance was found, said the excavator had unearthed the 227-kilogram bomb while he was digging to make a canal.
“It was lucky that his excavator did not crush the bomb, and that the bucket just touched the bomb and pulled it from the ground,” Touch said yesterday.
“We posted a sign and stationed [someone] there to prevent people from getting in there.” The US-made bomb had been situated about a metre below the ground, Touch said, adding that villagers had found a bomb of the same make about three years ago. The Cambodia Mine Action Centre is expected to come to haul the ordnance away within the next day or so, he added.
Cambodia’s eastern border with Vietnam was heavily bombed by the US during the 1970s in an effort to disrupt Vietcong supply lines.
According to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, there are more than 38 million square metres of land contaminated by explosive remnants of war in Ratanakkiri alone.