1 Dead After World War II Bomb Detonates in Germany

1:30 PM, Jan 3, 2014   |    comments
Image: Wolfgang Andres
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By Anna Maja Rappard, CNN

(CNN) -- At least one person was killed Friday when what is suspected to have been a World War II-era bomb detonated unexpectedly in Euskirchen, Germany, a fire official in that community told CNN.

Euskirchen is in western Germany, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Cologne and 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the country's border with Belgium.

Many unexploded bombs that were dropped by Allied forces in Germany roughly 70 years ago are believed to remain undiscovered.

Their presence is common enough that private bomb disposal teams are contracted by German companies to check that sites are safe when construction is planned.

Last April, authorities briefly evacuated hundreds of people from an area in central Berlin after a Russian-made aerial bomb weighing about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) was unearthed 2 meters from a train track. Bomb disposal experts safely disabled the device.

In August 2012, a 250-kilogram (550-pound) bomb was discovered in central Munich. It had to be detonated where it lay because the fuse was unstable; the explosion damaged nearby buildings.

In 2011, 45,000 residents were evacuated from the city of Koblenz, on the Rhine and Moselle rivers, as bomb squads dealt with two bombs and a military fog-producing device that were dropped by American and British warplanes in the last years of the war. One was a 1.8-metric ton British bomb that could have wiped out the city center, according to the local fire brigade.

Three members of a bomb disposal squad were killed in 2010 when the device they were trying to defuse in the German town Gottingen went off.

CNN's Diana Magnay, Stephanie Halasz and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.


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