Bomb disposal squad deactivates napalm bombs, mine found in central Vietnam

By Vi Vu   August 30, 2017 | 11:42 am GMT+7
Bomb disposal squad deactivates napalm bombs, mine found in central Vietnam
An explosion to dispose ordnance left from the Vietnam War in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Xavier Bourgois

A local man was lucky not to have been blown to pieces when he stumbled across the ordnance in his backyard.

Military officers in Vietnam's central province of Quang Nam said on Tuesday they had disposed of three napalm bombs and a Claymore anti-personnel mine discovered at a local house.

The owner of the house uncovered the ordnance while digging in his backyard, local media reported.

Officers said they were left over from the Vietnam War. The napalm bombs were one meter long and weighed around 70 kilograms each.

Napalm bombs were made by mixing naphthenic and palmitic acids with gasoline and placing it in a thin outer shell that easily exploded. The U.S. started dropping napalm bombs during World War II before deploying the weapon in Vietnam in 1963. A total of 388,000 tons of napalm was dropped on the country over the next decade.

It has become a symbol of the brutality of the war, one which was captured remarkably in Nick Ut's Pulitzer winning photo “The Terror of War”, showing a terrified girl running naked and screaming after being burned in a napalm attack in southern Vietnam on June 8, 1972. The black and white image is one of the most recognizable photos in the world and became a major inspiration for the anti-war movement.

Now decades after the war, unexploded ordnance still covers a fifth of Vietnam and explosions occur frequently, killing more than 1,500 people every year and maiming and injuring 2,200 more, according to official data.