Divers Recover Deadly Ordnance From Tonle Sap

A team of divers from the Cambodian Mine Action Center’s (CMAC) Salvage Dive Unit have recovered four artillery shells and a 500-pound aircraft bomb from the bed of the Tonle Sap River on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the organization announced on Wednesday.

The unit, which was established by CMAC and the U.S.-funded Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, was tipped off to the old ordnance when fishermen in the city’s northern Prek Pnov district “caught them in their fishing nets and reported them directly to CMAC Dive Team during a community outreach event,” Golden West country director Allen Tan said in an email.

Divers from the Cambodian Mine Action Center secure a 500-pound MK-82 bomb after removing it from the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh on Wednesday morning. (Charles Fox)
Divers from the Cambodian Mine Action Center secure a 500-pound MK-82 bomb after removing it from the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh on Wednesday morning. (Charles Fox)

Eleven divers arrived in the area on March 14 and subsequently recovered four 105-mm artillery shells and a 500-pound MK82 aircraft bomb, Mr. Tan said, adding that the bomb was removed only Wednesday morning.

The operation was the second successful recovery effort by members of the Salvage Dive Unit, after divers pulled a similar aircraft bomb from the bed of the Mekong River in Kandal province last year.

Cambodia’s rivers are littered with unexploded ordnance from U.S. ships that sank under fire while ferrying munitions from the Vietnamese border to Phnom Penh during the Second Indochina War.

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