WWII bomb gives digger operator a shock

1st August 2007, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Berlin digger operator Jens Hoehme thought he had struck an unmarked water main when the blade of his machine scraped free the dirt from a long cylindrical object, but closer investigation revealed a 1,000-kilogram bomb of Soviet manufacture and World War II vintage.

1 August 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Berlin digger operator Jens Hoehme thought he had struck an unmarked water main when the blade of his machine scraped free the dirt from a long cylindrical object, but closer investigation revealed a 1,000-kilogram bomb of Soviet manufacture and World War II vintage.

Even the technical experts accustomed to dealing with unexploded ordnance were surprised at the find on a building site in Lichterfelde in the south of the German capital, according to press reports Wednesday.

None of them had ever seen a bomb that large. Most of the finds over recent years have involved 250-kilogram devices, with an occasional 500-kilogram bomb turning up.

Hoehme called his supervisor immediately on finding the bomb shortly before 9 am on Tuesday, and the police were summoned.

The digger operator, who has been excavating building sites in Berlin for 16 years, has strong memories of an incident in 1994, when a mechanical digger detonated a bomb in Friedrichshain to the east of the city centre. Three people died.

On this occasion, police were taking no chances. The bomb disposal experts said that in the event of detonation, the shrapnel could fly up to 600 metres.

Police cleared the surrounding roads and urged at least 4,000 people to leave their homes.

The bomb disposal squad had to remove detonators at both ends of the device, and it was 6:30 pm before the all-clear was sounded.

Police then asked Hoehme to lift his find onto a truck.

While other smaller bombs are detonated at German Army sites, this one is too big for that. It is to be sawn into slices, which will be blown up separately.

DPA

Subject: German news

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