Explosives ordnance team to clear mortar bombs in Sava River in Bosnia
An elite police unit from Brno has headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina to clear vestiges of the war in Bosnia 17 years ago: unexploded mortar bombs in the winding Sava River. Divers from the elite squad – working in poor visibility, underwater – will understandably have to proceed with extreme caution: an estimated 150 mortar shells litter the river bottom.
“When we were first asked if we could do it, I replied that I thought that we could. I have a very good team behind me. At the same time, I asked each member of the squad if the level of risk was acceptable. They all said it was. But you have to treat munitions like this with respect: we’re not going over there to just pull any old thing out of the water.”
“We are going to be pulling out some of the largest shells, 120 mm... and it’s probably the first time something like this was attempted. I highly doubt any insurance company would insure a diver/specialist who will be manipulating explosive devices, underwater, with little visibility, against the current; putting them in a basket or attaching them to a line so they can be removed.”
The head of the unit, Lubomír Znojil, suggests meanwhile, that while on the one hand the mission is a challenge to be met, he personally will be happier once things wrap up: