60,000 people in Frankfurt had to be evacuated to defuse an enormous unexploded bomb from the World War II period.  This is without a doubt one of Germany’s biggest evacuations. Even hospital patients and seniors had to be evacuated.

The bomb was found on Tuesday by construction workers. It was about 1.8 tons or 4,000 pounds. Authorities ordered residents to leave in a 1.5-kilometer radius. Ambulances were habilitated this morning to help those who were physically unable to leave the area independently.

Image Credit: Sdmg / Werner
Image Credit: Sdmg / Werner

The bomb was successfully defused

It has been more than seven decades since the World War II ended, but there are still traces of that dreadful moment of history. Several unexploded bombs from that period continue to appear in Europe. This time, a high-capacity bomb or Blockbuster was found in Germany’s financial city of Frankfurt. Workers found it on a building site where they were constructing a new kindergarten. Apparently, it was dropped in Germany in the 1940’s by the Royal Air Force in the last phases of the war. It weighed 1.4 tons.

The bomb didn’t explode. However, authorities warn that if it had exploded, the damages and shock wave could have harmed the western part of the city. To reduce the risks, the German authorities cleared a 1.5 kilometers radius to defuse the bomb for good.

Seniors and newborns had to be evacuated prior to the defusal. Image Credit: Independent Online/AFP
Seniors and newborns had to be evacuated prior to the defusal. Image Credit: Independent Online/AFP

About 60,000 people had to leave their residence this morning. Some received help to evacuate the danger zone because they were not prepared to do so. Authorities said that the evacuation was carried out on time. Buildings and houses were checked by officials with heat-detection technology to make sure nobody was at risk, and they closed all the streets during the morning.

The evacuated area was the Westend district, and it included hospitals, a opera house, nursing homes and Germany’s central bank, where an important part of the gold reserves of Germany are saved. About 100 patients from two hospitals had to be evacuated, including premature babies and patients from the intensive care unit. Residents of the area took the day to visit friends and relatives or to visit another part of the city. Authorities also set shelters to receive people, and most of the city’s museums opened their doors for free today. Police continue to watch over houses and apartments from burglars until every one of the residents is back home.

Bomb disposal experts successfully defused the old weapon, and the news was greeted with applauses from the masses. Some residents are still waiting for the permission to get back home. It was the biggest evacuation in the post-war era of Germany.

There are thousands of undiscovered bombs from the World War II period in Germany

Thousands of weapons have been found in the country since the war ended. However, many experts believe that there are hundreds of thousands of undiscovered bombs that were dropped during the wartime in Germany. They might never explode, but they are an unknown threat. According to experts, those weapons can become even more unstable.


The city of Frankfurt during WWII. Image Credit: Martin Foot / Flickr
The city of Frankfurt during WW2. Image Credit: Martin Foot / Flickr

About 2000 tons of unexploded weapons are found every year in Germany. It is estimated that during the war, 2.7 million tons of bombs were dropped in Germany by the Allies, which is a lot compared to the 74,000 tons of bombs that the Nazi dropped in the United Kingdom during that period. Many never exploded. As well, the country has found Soviet artillery, grenades, and tank mines in the post-war East Germany. Because of this situation, Germany has a bomb-disposal unit, the Kampfmittelbeseitigungsdienst (KMBD) that solely addresses this kind of issues even in the 21st century. The technicians of the KMBD deactivate a bomb every two weeks approximately, and they believe that their work is far from being over.

The decade after the war ended took the life of many technicians and civilians after uncontrolled bomb explosions. The rate of deaths related to this kind of accidents has slowed down as time has gone by. However, bomb explosions have taken the life of 11 technicians since the year 2000.

During the last years, several WW2 bombs have been found in German soil. Just a few months ago, in May, three British bombs were found in Hannover. About 50,000 were evacuated while they were being defused. In December 2016, a similar amount of people had to be evacuated in Augsburg where another British-made bomb was found. In May 2015, 20,000 residents of Cologne were affected when the authorities asked them to leave to deactivate a 1-ton bomb. Back in January 2012, a construction worker lost his life when his digger hit and caused the explosion of a bomb in Euskirchen. Three members of the bomb disposal unit were killed in Göttingen in 2010 when they were trying to defuse a bomb.

Source: BBC News