Locals were attempting to dismantle the lethal device for scrap metal before experts were called in.
Bomb disposal experts safely detonated a 227-kilo (500-pound) bomb left over from the war on Thursday in the central province of Quang Tri, according to local media.
The bomb, with its detonators still live, was discovered on Thursday morning by a group of scrap metal collectors. The group were trying to dismantle the bomb to sell, but were quickly stopped by Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Thanh, a local military commander and an observer for Project RENEW, who was patrolling the area, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
Following Thanh’s report, two teams from Project RENEW, working with Norwegian NGO People’s Aid, were quickly dispatched to the scene, and the bomb was neutralized on the spot.
The 1.5-meter (5-foot) long bomb was identified as a highly destructive MK82 used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. The bomb has two detonators at both ends, making it highly dangerous to dismantle, Nhan Dan (People) newspaper quoted a technical advisor from RENEW as saying.
Quang Tri was hit hard by air raids during the war. The province was home to U.S. military bases and witnessed fierce fighting during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
An estimated 400,000 unexploded bombs and munitions remain buried across 480,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of Quang Tri, including residential areas.
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.