WWII munitions scare at Schipol airport | News | DW | 29.08.2012
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WWII munitions scare at Schipol airport

The discovery of a suspected World War II bomb by construction workers prompted the closure of part of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Wednesday. The find followed a similar scare in Munich.

Schiphol's management said it had evacuated Terminal C as a "precautionary measure," warning that the scare would lead to flight cancellations or delays on Wednesday.

Airport spokeswoman Marianne de Bie said munitions disposal experts had been called in to defuse the device found during construction at the airport's C-pier.

"We don't know how long it will take," she said.

Schiphol is Europe's fifth busiest aviation passenger hub. The site was bombed on numerous occasions by Allied forces during WWII when it was used by German occupying forces as a base.

Ex-WWII finds in Europe still frequent

Skyline photo of Munich, Schwabing, showing the illuminated blast after dark. Photo: Johannes Grimm dpa/lby

Munich's controlled detonation shattered windows on Tuesday

Wednesday's find at Schiphol came only hours after a similar emergency late on Tuesday in the southern German city of Munich. Experts detonated a 250-kilogram ex-WWII find - an unexploded American flying bomb. The blast shattered adjacent windows of Munich apartments. Firefighters extinguished burning remnants of straw bales used together with 10,000 sandbags to adsorb the detonation's shockwave.

Earlier, Munich authorities had evacuated 2,500 residents of the city's swish Schwabing precinct as well as four metro stations after deciding that any attempt to defuse the bomb was too risky.

Last Friday, authorities in the Ruhr District city of Mülheim briefly evacuated 7,000 people to defuse an unexploded bomb found near a kindergarten during construction work.

In Hanover a munitions disposal team member attaches a warning sign to a fence. Photo: Jochen Lübke dpa/lni

Germany has a busy network of disposal teams for WWII ordnance

German teams often called out

Germany's 16 regional states have specialist munitions disposal teams who are frequently sent out to deal with unexploded ordnance left over from WWII when Allied forces defeated Nazi Germany. The experts often pinpoint larger devices buried on sites earmarked for construciton projects by studying wartime aerial photographs to look for impact craters.

Sometimes their efforts are fatal: In June 2010, three explosives experts were killed while trying to defuse an old bomb near Göttigen in Lower Saxony state. Construction workers had initially uncovered the old bomb fitted with a dangerous acetone fuse buried at a depth of seven meters.

ipj/msh (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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