250 kg WWII bomb found near Düsseldorf

The air bomb was unearthed during routine construction work near Mönchengladbach on Friday. Now it will shut down part of the city as it is deactivated on Monday.

250 kg WWII bomb found near Düsseldorf
Cars drive through Mönchengladbach. Photo: DPA

Construction workers found the bomb at the intersection of Bismarckstraße and Steinmetzstraße in Mönchengladbach, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia that's just shy of 300,000 residents.

The ordinance disposal squad will deactivate it on Monday at 8 pm, and parts of the city centre will therefore be evacuated from 3 p.m. onwards, reported the city on its website.

The area within a radius of 300 to 500 metres around the site will be shut down completely. Therefore traffic in the city centre will be completely closed off during the deactivation.

From 3 p.m. onwards, most entrances to the city's main train station will also be shut down, reported the city, and the station will be completely closed starting from 7:45 pm. Trains will no longer be stopping there from 6 p.m onwards.

The deactivation follows a series of recent World War II bomb discoveries in western Germany. On November 29th, 10,000 people were forced to leave their homes in Cologne after a bomb discovery, following another find of a WWII bomb in October, revealed by low water levels on the Rhine River. 

In late October in Frankfurt, a WWII bomb was also discovered during construction work in the centre of the city, affecting 16,000 people

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

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WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation

A massive World War II bomb found in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt was safely detonated in the early hours of Thursday, the city's fire service said, allowing tens of thousands of evacuated residents to return to their homes.

WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation
Experts stand on mountains of sand, which were put in place to soften the force of the explosion of the WWII bomb in Frankfurt's Nordend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The 500-kilogram unexploded bomb was unearthed during construction work on Wednesday in the densely populated Nordend area of the city, a location firefighters said made it a “particular challenge” to remove.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported the ordnance had been discovered right next to a children’s playground at a depth of about two metres (6.5 feet).

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

Its report said the controlled blast, which happened just after midnight, “sounded like thunder rumbling” and left a hole three metres deep and ten metres wide.

Firefighters said that they had covered the bomb with 40 truckloads of sand before detonating it, in order to minimise damage to the surrounding buildings.

Around 25,000 people had been asked to evacuate the area, including the occupants of a nearby community hospital’s neonatal ward.

Among residents who took shelter at a skating rink was 29-year-old Tobias, carrying his pet cat in a cage.

He said he had heard the news over a police loudspeaker and been ordered to leave his home immediately, causing a “bit of stress”.

Barbara, 77, told AFP the news was “a bit of a shock, we don’t expect that”.

However, building works in Germany regularly unearth unexploded World War II ordnance, 76 years after the conflict’s end.

Seven bombs were defused in 2020 on land near Berlin where Tesla plans to build its first factory in Europe for electric cars.  

READ ALSO: WWII bomb in Frankfurt triggers 30m high water fountain

Other bombs were also discovered last year in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Dortmund.

In Frankfurt, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in 2017 led to the removal of 65,000 people, the biggest such evacuation in Europe since 1945.