Wwi bomb found near Po River in Italy

Wwi bomb found near Po River in Italy

Heatwaves sweeping Europe this summer have brought more than just record high temperatures, the drought-stricken waters of Italy's Po River are so low they have revealed a previously submerged World War II bomb.

On July 25, military experts defused and carried out a controlled explosion of the 450 kg bomb discovered near the northern village of Borgo Virgilio, close to the city of Mantua.

The bomb was found by fishermen on the bank of the Po due to a decrease in water levels caused by drought, Colonel Marco Nasi said.

It was no easy task to clear the bomb.

The army said that about 3,000 people living nearby had to be evacuated ahead of the disposal operation.

The area's airspace was shut down and navigation along that stretch of the waterway, along with traffic on a railway line and state road close by, was stopped.

At first, some of the inhabitants said they would not move, but in the last few days we think we have persuaded everyone, said Francesco Aporti, the mayor of Borgo Virgilio.

He said if people refused to go, the operation would have to be stopped.

Bomb disposal engineers removed the fuse from the US-manufactured device, which the army said contained 240 kg of explosive.

Then the bomb squad, escorted by police, transported the device to a quarry in Medole municipality about 45 kilometres away, where it was destroyed.

Italy declared a state of emergency last month for areas surrounding the Po, which is the country's longest river.

It accounts for about one-third of Italy's agricultural production and is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years.