A 550 pound World War II aircraft bomb exploded near a railway station in Munich on Wednesday injuring four people and causing hours of delay in train traffic.
The incident occurred shortly after noon at a tunnel drilling site for a new commuter train line near Donnersbrücke Station, just a half-mile west of Munich’s main railway station.
The blast could be heard several kilometers away and was so powerful, it toppled an excavator and injured four people, one seriously. Several passenger cars were also damaged by flying debris scattered over a hundred meters from the site.
Bomb site investigated
The Munich police, fire brigade, and emergency services were quickly dispatched, local police said on their Twitter page.
Section 13 of the Munich Police, the agency responsible for fire and industrial accidents, took over the investigation assisted by a team of specialists from an explosive ordnance disposal service.
Several adjacent railway tracks were littered with grenade fragments and had to be closed down, causing rail traffic in much of Munich to be halted.
The tracks did not sustain any damage, the fire brigade said, and by mid-afternoon, most train services had resumed.
Two police helicopters were also dispatched, supporting the operation with aerial and overview shots. In total, some 40 officers of the Munich police were deployed.
550 pounds of incendiary overlooked
Bavaria’s state interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, said the 250-kilogram (550-pound) explosive was probably of British make, German news agency DPA reported.
“It has to be investigated why no one spotted this bomb earlier,” Mr. Herrmann said, according to the BBC, adding that usually construction sites are scrutinized meticulously for war-time ordnance prior to any excavating activities.
This isn’t the first unexploded World War II ordnance found in Germany some 76 years after the end of the war. They are regularly stumbled upon during work on construction sites.
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In 2020, a staggering number of seven World War II grenades were found just outside Berlin on the site of Tesla’s first European factory. In Cologne and Dortmund, several bombs were deactivated last year.
In 2017, when a 1.4-ton British “blockbuster” charge was found in Frankfurt, it prompted authorities to evacuate seventy thousand people from their homes.