45,000 residents evacuated after WWII bomb found in German city

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by bobbysocks, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i saw this the other day and figured it was already posted....guess not.

    Koblenz - About half of the residents of the German city of Koblenz are under evacuation orders so officials can work to defuse a massive bomb that was found in the Rhine River. Individuals within the evacuation zone will need to leave by Sunday, Dec. 4.
    Stars and Stripes reported the World War II era bomb is believed to have been dropped by the British Royal Air Force.
    The region where Koblenz is located has been experiencing a dry spell, and as the water levels dropped in the Rhine, locals discovered the huge, unexploded, bomb. The bomb, weighing 4,000 pounds, and "packed with more than 3,000 pounds of explosives", was found in the Rhine River along with other unexploded ordnance, including a 275-pound American bomb and a German smoke grenade.
    The presence of these explosives now requires 45,000 residents to evacuate while the bomb is dealt with. If the bomb were to explode, it could cause substantial damage and/or injury.
    According to Stars and Stripes, officials estimate "a bomb this size could cause a crater more than 20 yards wide and six yards deep with a destruction radius of more than 70 yards if it were detonated."
    The evacuation zone is about a mile radius. As a part of the evacuation, a prison, seven retirement homes and two local hospitals also need to be vacated prior to the attempt to defuse the enormous bomb. Officials are setting up emergency centers for people who do not have any place to go.
    German explosive experts and the German army are taking lead in defusing the bomb. As the explosive is currently sitting in 16 inches of water, and partially obscured in mud, this will pose a challenge to experts trying to neutralize the bomb.
    According to Spiegel, smaller-scaled evacuations are not uncommon due to unexploded ordnance being found. However the size of this bomb has "sparked security measures of historic proportions", the German publication said.
    Currently a temporary dam has been constructed, made of approximately 350 sandbags, with plans to pump the water out of the vicinity where the bomb rests.
    The fire department has established a telephone hotline. Fire department spokesman Manfred Morschhäuser told DAPD, a German news agency, "Several hundred callers are getting in touch each day with their questions and problems."
    A flier has been distributed to residents, and door-to-door visits will occur on Sunday to ensure people have left the vicinity while experts work to neutralize the bomb. As the work enures, it is expected more bomb discoveries will be made along the riverbed, Spiegel said.
    Despite the fact the WWII era bomb is over 60 years old, the explosive is most likely still viable and dangerous, so precautions, such as this massive evacuation, must be taken. In June 2008 a 2,200 pound German bomb was found near the site where the 2012 Olympics will be held.
    In 2006 an actual explosion occurred in Germany during construction work on a German highway when a bomb detonated and one worker was killed. At that time authorities said it may take decades before all the unexploded WW II era bombs are cleared out of the region.

    then they found a smaller US bomb...

    TONY EASTLEY: Seventy years ago allied bombers swarmed over industrial targets along the Rhine Valley; now a little bit of the war has returned to one German city, forcing nearly 50,000 residents to evacuate their homes.

    Two large unexploded bombs were found in the river in the city of Koblenz in western Germany.

    Europe correspondent Emma Alberici reports.

    EMMA ALBERICI: Around one in 10 bombs dropped in Germany during World War II didn't detonate.

    Drought conditions in Germany's western city of Koblenz saw water levels drop and reveal the biggest bombs found since 1945.

    One of them - a British device weighing 1.8 tonnes, the other was a 125 kilogram American bomb.

    Three bomb disposal experts led by Marco Ofenstein were brought in to make the area safe.

    MARCO OFENSTEIN (translated): We have a British detonator, which was surrounded by water for a long time and the explosives within the detonator react with water over the time, which causes a high risk when the detonator is being removed.

    EMMA ALBERICI: About 50,000 people were evacuated - everyone within a two kilometre radius of the site forced to leave their homes, two hospitals and seven nursing homes. Two hundred inmates from the local prison were also taken away.

    The city, 130 kilometres north-west of Frankfurt was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Its residents have become all too accustomed to scares like this. Twenty-eight smaller bombs have been found here since 1999.

    VOX POP (translated): As a resident living nearby, it is strange to think about this massive bomb lying here for all these years.

    VOX POP 2 (translated): It's just like it is. You know, that the Rhine is full of bombs. At least I assume it is. The falling water levels, who knows how many bombs are still in there.

    VOX POP 3 (translated): I am a bit of a anxious person so I am glad when it's over. You have to see how to get the day over. Normally we have plans, go hiking or so. Everything is closed, you can't go anywhere, the cafes and everything.

    EMMA ALBERICI: Last year three bomb disposal experts were killed while defusing a bomb in Lower Saxony.

    A few months earlier, three other people died in the same area when a 500 kilogram World War II bomb was unearthed and exploded during the construction of a sports stadium.


    UPDATE: it has been defused:



    Bomb squads in Germany successfully defused on Sunday two bombs and disposed of an additional air-dropped military device that had caused an evacuation of historic proportions in a city in the country's west.

    The 45,000 evacuated residents of the city of Koblenz, situated on the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, were allowed to return home.

    Workers rendered inert the two bombs, one 4,000-pound "air mine" and a smaller high-density explosive bomb. Then they destroyed a third non-explosive device by way of a controlled detonation, according to the Koblenz fire department.

    The fire brigade had pre-warned the population about the controlled detonation to allay possible fears that one of the powerful bombs may have exploded.

    Life had come to a standstill in the western German city of Koblenz, where 45,000 people -- nearly half of the city´s population -- had been evacuated after the discovery of several dangerous World War II bombs.

    "It's the largest German evacuation since the end of the war," fire brigade spokesman Ronald Eppelsheim said Sunday.

    For 65 years, the Rhine River hid two bombs and an fog-producing device that were dropped by American and British warplanes in the last years of the war. When water levels dropped to record lows last week, the bombs were finally found.

    The function of the fog-producing device was to block the vision of anti-aircraft personnel on the ground during WW II to make it harder for them to fire upon the allied planes carrying out the bombing mission.

    "While time passed by, and Koblenz was rebuild(ing), the bombs got even more dangerous," bomb-disposal squad member Jurgen Wagner said Sunday.

    The largest of the explosives is a 1.8 metric ton British air bomb that has the potential to destroy the city´s center, according to the fire brigade.

    But the focus of attention wasn't on the largest bomb -- it was on the much smaller, 125-kilogram (275-pound) American high-explosive bomb. It was "transformed on impact of the earth" making it more difficult to deactivate the detonator, Wagner said.

    Last week, hundreds of volunteers started evacuating two hospitals and seven homes for senior citizens. A prison and numerous hotels are also affected by the shutdown.

    By mid-Sunday morning, authorities declared the center of Koblenz a "forbidden area." About 1,000 authorities were searching the town to make sure any left behind leave.

    The fire brigade built a wall of more than 2,500 sandbags since the bombs were found in the river. Water pumps draining part of the river help ensure the two four-men teams can defuse the bombs precisely.

    Eppelsheim said he is optimistic the operation will be successful.

    "People in Koblenz are used to bomb findings," he said.

    Despite the inconvenience for those evacuated, the situation could have been much worse.

    "If we had found an even larger bomb, we would have been forced to evacuate all 100,000 citizens of Koblenz," Eppelsheim said.

    The deactivation of bombs is a common practice in Germany. Last year, a bomb exploded in the German town Gottingen -- killing three members of a bomb-disposal squad.

    During World War II, an estimated 257 British air bombs were dropped on Koblenz alone, according to the local fire brigade. It is not known how many of them did not explode and have been forgotten.

    Bomb-disposal squads have only managed to deactivate three of them until now.
     
  2. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    WW2 bomb discoveries are a regular part of life in Plymouth especially when immediate post war buildings are demolished.
    Usually, there is an area cordoned off and the bomb squad move in and do their well practiced business.
    John
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  4. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  5. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    always look first before posting...but obviously never in the right place. sorry. you can delete or consolidate this as you wish.
     
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