Huge cache of Civil War explosives found by chance in Aragon

NO less than 538 live mortar shells were found by surprised divers in a river in Aragon whilst searching for a missing person.

The Guardia Civil officers were underwater at an area known as Los Ojos del Rio Jiloca (The Eyes of the River Jiloca) when they discovered the shells placed in the mud during the Spanish Civil War.

This is one of the largest discoveries of unexploded and dumped ordnance ever found in Spain and it was exceptionally dangerous to remove the shells and then transport them to an area where they could be exploded under safe conditions.

So hazardous was this project that the area had to be sealed off and the mortar bombs removed a few at a time so that they could be transported safely to a local quarry where they were detonated.

Due to the fact that the explosives were underwater in a relatively inaccessible area and were potentially unstable, a number of specialists sections involved with underwater activities as well as explosives had to work together over a period of weeks to remove the shells and then transport them safely for detonation.

It is believed that armaments left over by both sides from the Civil War are still found every three days somewhere in Spain and members of the public are advised never to touch any suspect item, but to mark the spot where it is contained and then contact the Guardia Civil immediately.

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