Military experts defused and carried out a controlled explosion on Sunday of the 450-kilogram (1,000-pound) bomb, which was found on July 25 near Borgo Virgilio, a northern village near the city of Mantua.
“Fishermen found the bomb on the banks of the Po River due to the drop in water levels caused by the drought,” Colonel Marco Nasi said.
Clearing the bomb was no easy task.
Around 3,000 people living nearby have been evacuated for the disposal operation, the army said. Airspace in the area was suspended, and navigation along the waterway and traffic on the railway line and state road were halted.
“At first, some residents said they would not move, but in the last few days, we think we have convinced everyone,” said Francesco Aporti, the mayor of Borgo Virgilio, adding that if people had refused to go, the operations would have been ongoing. Suspended.
Bomb disposal engineers removed the fuse from the US-made device, which the military said contained 240 kilograms (530 pounds) of explosives.
The bomb squad, under police escort, then transferred the device to a quarry in Medol municipality, about 45 kilometers (30 miles) away, where it was destroyed.
Italy declared a state of emergency last month for areas around the country’s longest river, the Po. It accounts for roughly a third of Italy’s agricultural output and is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years.