The National Armed Forces (NBS) bomb disposal unit was called to the scene and found metal shrapnel and pieces of a detonator of unknown origin at the scene. An inspection will determine whether the bomb was a remnant from the World War II-era legacy of unexploded munitions still found around many sites in Latvia.
Police spokesman Toms Sadovskis confirmed that the man had come to the cemetery with his wife to tend to a grave. She called the emergency crews and was not hurt in the explosion.
A criminal investigation has been launched into the tragic incident.
A deadly explosive going off in a cemetery is a first-ever event, Riga City Council Cemetery Authority acting chief Igors Svincickis told newswire BNS. Never before has an unexploded device been found while digging around and tending to a gravesite at any cemetery in Latvia. "This is a unique case," he said. "We will wait for the official report to understand what exactly happened here."