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WWII bomb forces central Munich evacuation
Posorski with the bomb - before he realized how dangerous it was. Photo: DPA

WWII bomb forces central Munich evacuation

Published: 28 Aug 2012 11:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Aug 2012 11:10 GMT+02:00

Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in Munich on Monday night after the disposal of a 250-kilo World War II bomb proved more complicated than expected. “It could go off at any time,” said a fire department spokesman.

The bomb had been underneath one of the city’s most notorious bars.

The closure of Schwabinger 7 had infuriated many who saw it as a legendary part of Munich’s night-life, one of the last remaining dark, scruffy places, where the Rolling Stones used to go drinking when hanging out with Uschi Obermaier.

All attempts to save the bar failed – and the sounds made by late-night boozers was replaced by the rumble of the building being pulled down. Workers with pneumatic drills were hard at work on Monday, while all around them people went about their business in the lively district.

Until a digger scraped against metal on Monday – and work on the site was halted.

Even then Munich bomb disposal officer Diethard Posorski and his colleagues assumed it was a ‘normal’ bomb – which although dangerous, can be handled with care.

It took several hours before it became clear that the 250-kilo bomb was not the normal kind; it has a chemical detonator, said Posorski.

“That is a chemical delayed-action detonator. I am not defusing that, I’m not suicidal,” he told the Münchner Merkur newspaper on Monday night.

He referred to the three people who died in Göttingen in 2010 trying to defuse exactly the same kind of bomb, which exploded when they lifted it up a little.

“We also lifted this one up a touch, but thank God, we survived,” he said.

The operation to clear people from their homes started on Monday night at around 10pm and was later extended so that around 2,500 living within 300 metres of the bomb were affected.

They were given just minutes to grab a few things and leave. Officials went door to door making sure everyone had heard and understood the instructions being blared out by loudspeaker.

Many went to stay with friends while others were put up in a nearby school where Red Cross volunteers tried to make them comfortable.

Further experts were being brought to the site on Tuesday, and are expected to create a controlled explosion at some time in the evening. A large timber shell filled with straw and sand was being built around the bomb on Tuesday morning to catch shrapnel and muffle the shock wave.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:53 August 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
"It could go off at any time" said a fire department spokesman.

Better let the man standing beside it know that. He seems perfectly at ease.
16:10 August 28, 2012 by zeddriver
I hope they don't poke at that thing with the pickaxe in the background.

The guy in the photo looks to be near retirement. They probably made him go in there hoping to save some money on his pension.
17:03 August 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
The man in the photo probably is a pensioner and he is doing this as a 400EUR job to suplement his pension.
21:27 August 29, 2012 by Landmine
@Berlin fuer alles

Ha ha, good point...
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