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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Bomb disposal experts in Frankfurt defuse massive WW2 bomb

1.4 tonne British bomb was found

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FRANKFURT, Germany - In a huge operation, after about 65,000 people were evacuated, bomb disposal experts in Frankfurt managed to successfully defuse a massive unexploded bomb from World War Two.

The 1.4 tonne British bomb was found on a building site on Wednesday and officials said the area affected included 20 retirement homes, an opera house, and Germany's central bank where half the country's gold reserves are stored.

On Saturday, over 100 patients from two hospitals were moved, including premature babies and people in intensive care. 

A smaller evacuation took place in Koblenz, about 110km (68 miles) west of Frankfurt on the same day.

Experts disposed of a World War Two bomb that had been found during the construction of a new kindergarten.

On Sunday morning, the local media revealed that police had cordoned off the 1.5km (1 mile) evacuation area as residents carrying luggage vacated the danger zone. 

They noted that the police had used heat-detection technology at every designated house to make sure everyone was out.

Fire and police chiefs in the city had warned that an uncontrolled explosion of the HC 4000 bomb would be powerful enough to flatten an entire street.

Eventually, the bomb disposal operation was completed ahead of the 12-hour estimate.

At the end of the operation, police helicopters carrying heat detecting cameras scoured the area as bomb disposal experts began their task. 

In a statement, the police told local media that the evacuation took place on schedule even though a handful of residents were not initially prepared to vacate the area.

Authorities also noted that the evacuation was the biggest in post-war German history and involved hundreds of officials.

Thousands of residents, who were told to leave to enable experts to make the bomb safe are now awaiting permission to return to their homes.

Police have said that they will continue guarding empty houses and apartments until evacuees have returned home.

Experts believe there are hundreds of thousands of unexploded wartime bombs across Germany.

Each year, officials have revealed that an average of about 2,000 tonnes of unexploded ordnance are found in Germany. 

Earlier this year, in May, about 50,000 people were evacuated from Hannover while three British-made bombs were defused.

Before this, in December 2016, a similar number of evacuations took place in Augsburg, over 1.8-tonne British explosive.

 

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