Germany: WWII bombs found in Cologne, Berlin | News | DW | 21.01.2020
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Germany: WWII bombs found in Cologne, Berlin

Ten thousand office workers and 15 residents were ordered to leave their offices and homes after a WWII bomb was found near the city center. Hours later, police in Berlin began to defuse a bomb found in central Berlin.

Thousands of workers in the western German city of Cologne were ordered to evacuate on Tuesday after a 500-kilogram World War II bomb was discovered on the bank of the Rhine River, which flows through the city.

A 500-meter exclusion zone was set up around the site where the bomb was discovered in a business district of Cologne and 10,000 office workers were evacuated, along with 15 residents.

Bomb disposal experts arrived at the site in the district of Deutz on the eastern side of the river shortly before midday and defused the bomb within 25 minutes. Security measures were lifted soon after.

It was "not easy," according to Stefan Höreth from the explosive ordnance disposal service in an interview with German broadcaster RTL.

"The bomb was dropped from more than 1,000 meters, and if the detonator had been even slightly compressed, then we would have had problems removing it," Höreth said.

Stefan Höreth and the bomb

Bomb disposals are commonplace in Germany, more than 70 years after WWII

Bomb unearthed by chance

Construction workers unearthed the bomb by chance on Monday evening.

The bomb had originally landed upright in the ground, and old embankments and stone made the removal more difficult.

The exclusion zone set up around the bomb included workers at German broadcaster RTL, which continued to broadcast outside from the banks of the Rhine River.

"This case was unusual because of the large number of businesses that were affected, but the small number of residents," said a spokesperson for Cologne's public order office.

Unexploded WWII bombs are often discovered in Cologne and other German cities which experienced heavy bombing from Allied forces during WWII. Often they are discovered during construction work.

Police at the safety zone in Berlin on Tuesday night (Reuters/A. Hilse)

Police at the safety zone in Berlin on Tuesday night

Berlin bomb prompts evacuation

Hours later, a bomb defusal was underway in central Berlin, near the well-known Alexanderplatz. A safety zone of 500 meters was set up on Tuesday evening.

Around 2,000 people had to leave their houses in the area. Many people stayed in emergency shelters for those hours.

The actual disposal only lasted around 30 minutes, with police thanking all those affected for their understanding on Twitter.

Police later confirmed that experts had successfully disposed of the bomb.

kmm,ed/se (dpa, AFP)

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