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Complications during bomb disposal cause delay in massive Frankfurt evacuation

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Complications during bomb disposal cause delay in massive Frankfurt evacuation
Explosives experts present the bomb after it has been defused. Photo: DPA
09:57 CEST+02:00
Over 60,000 residents of Frankfurt were finally allowed to return to their homes late on Sunday evening after the defusing of a giant Second World War bomb took longer than expected.

In the biggest evacuation in post-war history, some Frankfurt residents had to wait until midnight before they could get back to their homes.

Authorities had announced the evacuation last week after an unexploded British ‘blockbuster' bomb was found on the Wismarer Strasse in the Westend district.

A 1.5 kilometre zone around the bomb was evacuated, leading to almost one in ten of the city's residents being affected.

The evacuation started on Saturday, with fire crews taking the elderly and the sick away from the area. All residents were supposed to have left the evacuation zone by midday on Sunday, but a few dozen failed to cooperate, fire services boss Reinhard Ries said.

Putting this down to “a mixture of ignorance and stupidity”, Ries described how one man who refused to leave his home had to be taken from his balcony by fire crews. He was then arrested and could now be handed the bill for the delay in operations.

The tardiness of some residents meant that the diffusing of the bomb started two and a half hours later than planned.

Bomb experts then had to defuse three fuses on the bomb. Complications with the second fuse meant that it had to be carefully extracted from the 1.8 tonne barrel of explosives, which was designed by the British to destroy whole blocks of housing.

Transport in the German finance capital was working again on Sunday evening, although the Autobahn 66 was still blocked off.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

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