20,000 Evacuated for World War II Bomb Defusing in Cologne
COLOGNE, Germany, May 27 (UPI) — About 20,000 people in the city of Cologne, Germany, were evacuated as authorities attempt to defuse a one-ton, American World War Two bomb.
The bomb was discovered on Friday during preparations for the construction of a pipeline and attempts to defuse it were scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
The city zoo, schools and kindergartens are closed and about 1,100 residents of a retirement and disability center were taken to safety. This is the city’s largest evacuation since the war.
Bridges, streets, trains, boats and planes have been blocked, cancelled or rerouted for the bomb’s removal.
A 1,000 meter exclusion zone was created surrounding the bomb’s location, near the Muelheim bridge that crosses the Rhine river.
Defusing the bomb may take some time, as the bomb was discovered about 16 feet underground.
“Like is so common with these heavy bombs, this one is very deep down,” Dieter Daeneck, who is leading the operation, told FAZ. “Such a big bomb can’t simply be taken out. We need to dig a deep and wide hole first.”
Discovery of old bombs is common. Cologne was a target of Allied air raids during the Second World War. In 2014, two unexploded bombs were defused in the same Cologne neighborhood.