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Bombs away? Elbe evaporation leads to discovery of WWII munitions

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Bombs away? Elbe evaporation leads to discovery of WWII munitions
Peter Förster/ZB/DPA
16:49 CEST+02:00
The uncharacteristically hot weather sweeping across Germany has broken records and almost sold the country out of cooling fans and beer bottles - but it has also unearthed a few secrets.

Receding water levels in the Elbe River have led to the discovery of several unexploded World War II bombs, including grenades, mines and other explosive devices.

 

While 21 have been found in the area in total since the start of the year, five have been discovered in the previous week - illustrating the scale and rarity of the heatwave.

 

The Elbe is at its lowest level in more than half a century and currently sits a mere few centimetres away from the all-time low of 48 centimetres, recorded in 1934 - as much as ten years before the munitions were dropped. 

 

The United States military estimates that Allied planes dropped a total of 3.4 million tonnes of bombs on Germany during World War II, many of which remain unexploded and potentially dangerous. 

 

The Technical Police Office (TPA) of Saxony-Anhalt said that the low water levels had allowed hikers and swimmers to see munitions that had seemingly lain dormant since hostilities ended more than seven decades ago.  

 

Unfortunately however, the weather conditions have also led to some dangerous behaviour, with a number of residents taking advantage of the low water levels to search for the unexploded munitions.

 

Over 70 years underwater may rust and degrade the bombs, but they remain significantly dangerous to anyone who comes across them. The TPA have encouraged anyone who finds an unexploded device during a summer dip to stay well away and inform the police. 

 

MORE: Incredible satellite images show damaging effects of heatwave

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