More than 20,000 people were evacuated from a German city after this massive unexploded 500-kilogramme World War II bomb was found 78 years after it was dropped there by US forces.
The evacuation occurred in Frankfurt am Main after the huge device was discovered during construction work.
The Allied bomb was reportedly dropped on the city’s old Rebstock Airport and anti-aircraft guns by an American bomber in 1944 but failed to go off.
Over 20,000 locals were evacuated ahead of plans to defuse the bomb on 12th October in case it detonated.
Frankfurt am Main fire service said two days before the operation: “The explosive ordnance disposal service believes it is possible that the bomb can only be defused by controlled detonation. This represents a special challenge. An uncontrolled detonation would mean massive damage to buildings and a great danger to human life.
“Necessary protective measures have therefore been taken at the site where the bomb was found in the present case: among other things, large quantities of sand and water are available with which the bomb can be covered in order to keep damage to surrounding buildings to a minimum in the event of an explosion.
“According to the resident registration figures, around 20,000 residents are affected, who must have left the restricted area by 9 a.m. on Wednesday. At that time, public transport to and from the area will be halted.”
Then on 12th October that announced: “There was great relief when the 500-kg World War II bomb was defused in the late afternoon.
“All residents affected by the extensive evacuation were able to make their way home at 4:10 p.m. The emergency services will still be busy for a few hours organising and carrying out the dismantling work.
“Around 20,000 residents had to leave the danger zone defined by the Hesse explosive ordnance clearance service (Darmstadt Regional Council). Once again, most of the Frankfurt residents affected did so very responsibly.
“Some people with restricted mobility registered late for the transport assistance, and some people had to be asked by the police to leave the area. Due to the condition of the bomb, it was not clear until the very end how the bomb could be defused. Final preparatory work on the dud at noon showed that one of the two detonators could be removed without any problems.
“Both detonators were blown up on site. About half an hour after defusing the bomb, the police lifted the roadblocks […].”
The firefighters added: “More than 600 emergency services from the police, fire brigade and aid organisations from Frankfurt, the Hochtaunus district and the Main-Taunus district were involved.”
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