World War II bomb defused in Frankfurt after 65,000 evacuated

By Allen Cone  |  Sept. 3, 2017 at 2:25 PM
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Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Experts successfully defused an unexploded bomb from World War II on Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany, after 65,000 residents were evacuated.

The biggest evacuation in post-war German history began Saturday. To ensure everyone had left the Westend district, authorities checked every house with heat-detection technology to make sure everyone was out.

Also evacuated were 100 patients from two hospitals, as well as people from local nursing homes. On Sunday, police cordoned off the 1-square mile evacuation area.

At 6:30 p.m. local time, the Frankfurt police posted on Twitter "[The bomb] has been successfully defused."

Earlier, three explosive capsules were blown up onsite.

At 8 a.m. the town was deserted.

"The situation is relaxed which is a good sign and everything so far is going according to plan," Frankfurt fire brigade spokesman Markus Rock told CNN. "We will now assess if everybody has left voluntarily and go from house to house and remove people if necessary. People who need assistance are being transported over the next few hours."

Shelters were provided for people not able to stay with friends or family.

The 1.4-ton bomb was discovered Tuesday during construction near the Goethe University Frankfurt compound. Munitions experts said if the bomb were to explode it would obliterate every structure within 300 feet and cause severe damage well beyond that radius.

"The scale of this bomb is overwhelming," the fire brigade's director, Reinhard Ries, told reporters. "I have never seen anything like it."

The bomb was described as a British HC 4000, which the British referred to as the "blockbuster bomb."

Also Saturday, an estimated 22,000 people were evacuated in Koblenz, a city 70 miles west of Frankfurt, to dismantle a bomb dropped by the U.S. during World War II that was unearthed during the construction of a new kindergarten. This bomb's size was estimated at half a ton.

About 2,000 tons of unexploded munitions are found each year in Germany. Half the 2.7 million tons of bombs dropped by Allied powers during World War II landed in Germany.

In May, 50,000 people were evacuated from Hannover while three British-made bombs were defused.

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