Agence France-Presse & The New York Times et al. – 2018-08-20 00:22:03
French Fishing Trawler Nets WWII Bomb
RENNES, France (August 17, 2018) — A French fishing trawler netted a World War II bomb containing nearly a ton of explosives off the coast of Normandy on Friday, prompting the emergency evacuation of the crew while the device was returned to the seabed, authorities said.
The trawler was fishing around two nautical miles off the coast in the English Channel when it swept up the German bomb containing some 860 kilos (almost a ton) of explosives.
Alerted to the haul in the early hours of Friday, the region’s maritime authorities sprang into action. Within two hours, a marine helicopter had been scrambled to the scene with five mine clearance divers, who were winched onto the vessel.
Using straps, the divers freed the bomb from the net and lowered it gently back into the water, noting its GPS position so that it can be defused by bomb disposal experts next week.
The crew was evacuated during the operation, which took part on a section of the coast where the June 1944 D-Day landings that led to the liberation of occupied France took place.
The authorities praised them for seeking help, saying that to have tried to release the device from the nets themselves would have entailed “serious risks”.
Police evacuated an area in the heart of Berlin April 20, as bomb disposal experts prepared to defuse a World War II bomb.
Thousands Evacuated in Berlin
After World War II Bomb Is Found
Christopher F. Schuetze / The New York Times
BERLIN (April 20, 2018) — German police officers and firefighters went door to door on Friday in a one-mile area of downtown Berlin, telling workers and residents that they had to get out. A 1,100-pound World War II-era bomb was found last Saturday, and it was time to remove it.
The 70-year-old bomb, which the Berlin police said had mostly likely been dropped by a British bomber during the war, was found during construction in the center of the German capital, just north of the main train station, government buildings and major tourist sites.
As many as 12,000 people were evacuated, and two schools nearby were opened to the public to provide shelter for people while bomb experts worked to defuse it.
“It’s part of life” said Norbert Benke, 61, who works in the affected area. “It’s still the impact of the Second World War.”
The area evacuated had a radius of a half-mile, with the bomb’s location at its center. A government ministry building, the Museum of Natural History, an army hospital, the federal intelligence services, a canal and the central train station, among other important sites, are all located in the area.
Many offices in the area were closed for the day on what turned out to be a sunny Friday.
The evacuation of Berlin’s central train station — one of Europe’s largest — began in the morning, and by noon, all trains had been diverted from the station. Roughly 300,000 passengers use the station daily. Holger Auferkamp, a spokesman for the national rail service, estimated that ten thousands of trips were affected by the disposal operation.
The city estimated that there are still roughly 3,000 bombs in Berlin. Since 1947, 1.8 million ordnances have been found and disposed of in the city, according to the police department, which runs its own bomb-disposal unit.
Some of the devices were aerial bombs, like the one that caused problems on Friday; others were explosives used during the final battle of Berlin or unused munitions left by soldiers.
During the war, the area where the bomb was found was the site of a now-closed major train station known as Lehrter Bahnhof, an inland port and warehouses. It would have been close to the Reichstag and other ministries involved in the war effort, said Peter Schwirkmann, the head of the Berlin City Museum’s historical department.
“For a bomber, this would have been a strategically important place,” he said.
Unexploded bombs are so prevalent that the city offers a free service to landowners who are seeking to build: a team of researchers will examine old aerial photos and data to determine whether a property may have once been bombed.
Berlin isn’t the only German city to be evacuated because of war relics. In September 2017, tens of thousands of people temporarily abandoned their homes in Frankfurt as technicians worked for hours to defuse a 4,000-pound, World War II-era bomb.
The bomb, thought to have been dropped by the British Royal Air Force, had been discovered at a construction site for faculty buildings on the edge of Goethe University.
London itself was hit with thousands of German bombs in 1940 and 1941, a period known as the Blitz. Devices from that era, including grenades, are removed every year from backyards, fields and construction sites.
Earlier this year, London City Airport, near the Thames in the eastern part of the city, was shut down after a World War II relic, an 1,100-pound German bomb, was discovered during construction work.
Also on Friday, Slovak authorities started evacuating people in the town of Sturovo, near the southern border with Hungary after four World War II bombs were found, according to The Associated Press.
In Berlin, police technicians started the disposal operation at 12:45 p.m. — the time and day were chosen to cause the least inconvenience to Berliners, said Konstanze Dassler, a police representative.
The bomb was defused by a team of five police specialists, and it was transported to an area outside of town before being destroyed in a controlled explosion.
Before the operation finished, the Berlin Police posted on Twitter a photo of their bomb-disposal team at the site, saying it was about to defuse “the source of all our woes.”
Related Stories: Other WWII Bombs Discovered this Year:
WWII bomb discovered at US Army post in Stuttgart
June 26, 2018 — A small World War II-era bomb was discovered June 26, 2018, at a construction site on Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. It was safely removed.
London City Airport shut after WWII bomb found
London’s City Airport was closed following the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb in the nearby River Thames. Police are enforcing an exclusion zone around the area.
WWII bomb removal to force evacuation around Berlinâ€²s main station
A WWII bomb removal forced the evacuation of the neighborhood around Berlin’s main station. Another aerial bomb discovered near a Cologne train station in 2016.
WWII-era bomb found in Poland forces evacuation of more than 2,000
August 9, 2018 â€“ Poland. Polish police say they are evacuating more than 2,000 people in Warsaw after the discovery of an unexploded World War II-era bomb.
Hundreds evacuated in Hong Kong after third WWII bomb found this year
May 11, 2018 — Hundreds evacuated in Hong Kong after third WWII bomb discovered this year.
WW2 bomb found by scuba divers â€“ BBC
July 10, 2018 — Teignmouth evacuated over WW2 bomb find. Parts of a Devon seaside town were evacuated after a World War II bomb was found in the sea.
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