Second World War bomb kills three in Germany

Thursday 03 June 2010 00:00

Three sappers who were working to defuse a Second World War bomb in central Germany were killed and six others injured when the device exploded.

About 7,000 people were being evacuated from their homes in the town of Goettingen, when the 1,100lb (500kg) bomb blew up late on Tuesday night. Several schools, a kindergarten and local businesses remain closed.

Construction workers building a sports arena had unearthed the 65-year-old bomb buried about 7m underground.

The three men who were killed were experienced sappers, aged 38 to 55. Officials said that over 20 years the men had defused up to 700 bombs. It was not clear why the bomb exploded, said the town's police chief, Robert Kruse. He added that two engineers were severely injured and four others were treated for shock. City spokesman Detlef Johannson said team was preparing to remove the detonator when the bomb went off.

Unexploded wartime bombs are found regularly in Germany. Only a few days earlier, another bomb which was found in Goettingen was successfully defused.

Every German state has dozens of specialists trained to defuse old bombs, and accidents are rare. Hundreds of police and firefighters are usually involved in helping evacuate people before experts attempt to defuse a bomb.

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