German explosives experts defused a massive World War Two bomb in the financial capital of Frankfurt on Sunday (September 3) after tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.
The compulsory evacuation of 60,000 people was Germany’s biggest such manoeuvre since the war, with more than a thousand emergency service workers helping to clear the area around the bomb, which was discovered on a building site last week.
The evacuation area included two hospitals, care homes, the Opera House and Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, where $70 billion in gold reserves are stored underground. Police maintained security at the building.
The all-day effort took longer than planned but officials expressed relief that the process had been successful.
The work by bomb technicians started later than scheduled because some residents refused to leave the evacuation area despite fire chiefs warning that an uncontrolled explosion would be big enough to flatten a city block.
More than 2,000 tonnes of live bombs and munitions are discovered each year in Germany, more than 70 years after the end of the war. British and American warplanes pummelled the country with 1.5 million tonnes of bombs that killed 600,000 people.
Officials estimate that 15 percent of the bombs failed to explode, some burrowing six metres (20 feet) deep.
Three police explosives experts in Goettingen were killed in 2010 while preparing to defuse a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb.