60000 people leave homes in Frankfurt ahead of WW II bomb defusal

Michele Moreno
September 4, 2017

Premature babies and intensive care patients had to be evacuated along with everyone else from two hospitals and rescue workers helped about 500 elderly people leave residences and care homes. About 20,000 people were evacuated from the western city of Koblenz before specialists disarmed a 500-kilogram US bomb Saturday.

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. Dozens of ambulances lined up early Sunday to pick up anyone unable to independently leave the danger zone.

Experts had warned that if the bomb exploded, it would be powerful enough to flatten a whole street. It was presumably dropped during the 1939-1945 air war the Allies waged on Nazi Germany, and was only discovered during recent construction work after sitting underground for at least 72 years.

On Sunday, police cordoned off a large area in the German city, urging about 60,000 residents to leave their apartments.

A woman carries her belongings past a police officer experts prepare to defuse an unexploded British bomb in Frankfurt. That evacuation saw hospital patients, prison inmates and residents of the city moved while officials worked on defusing the bomb.

The police said that the demining works kicked off on the site following the evacuation. It is estimated that around 10 percent of these bombs remain unexploded.

Dieter Schwetzler, right, and Rene Bennert of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division stand behind the World War II bomb they defused in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 3, 2017. Augsburg saw 54,000 people evacuated on Christmas Day a year ago after a British "blockbuster" bomb was uncovered. Also, small private planes, helicopters and drones will be banned from the evacuation zone.

The city also offered many activities to evacuees, with all public museums open and free of charge.

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