Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Second World War claims yet another victim

Illustration for article titled The Second World War claims yet another victim

It ended nearly 70 years ago, but World War II has taken yet another life. An undetonated bomb dropped by Allied planes exploded in a German town on Friday, killing the driver of an excavator and wounding another 13 people.


The explosion happened in an industrial area of Euskirchen near Bonn. As The Guardian writes, it's not immediately clear if the explosives had been buried in the ground or inadvertently brought to the site in a delivery of demolition waste.

The driver of the mechanical digger was fatally injured after it hit the device, and two people nearby were seriously hurt. Another 11 people who were in the area suffered minor injuries.

Windows, roofs and doors up to 400 metres away were damaged in the blast, police said. Explosives experts were working to determine exactly what the device was.

Illustration for article titled The Second World War claims yet another victim

Unexploded bombs are still a serious problem in Germany. According to National Geographic, disposal experts will get a lot more in the years to come:

In the German capital, 2,000 bombs have been recovered since the end of the war. And experts say between 2,000 and 4,000 tons of explosive material—including unexploded hand grenades used during the fierce battle for the capital in 1945—still litter Berlin.

"They find and defuse 10 or 15 bombs each year," said Wolfgang Spyra, former head of the Berlin Police Department's Forensic Science and Engineering Department and a retired professor at Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus. "At that rate, you can imagine how much longer the problem will be with us."

The number of bombs still to be found is staggering. British, American, and Russian bombing raids dumped upward of 2.7 million tons of bombs on Germany during the war, each weighing anywhere from 100 to 4,000 pounds (45 to 1,814 kilos). Spyra estimates between 7 and 15 percent of those were duds, bombs that hit the ground but failed to explode. For decades, they've remained live, waiting quietly for an errant backhoe or bulldozer to set them off.

Images: Marius Becker/Corbis.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


See, I would like a remake of this

But I always thought that I wouldn't get done, cause the part about them believing it was an unexploded WWII bomb would no longer be believable. In fact, the original of this story had a guy whose job it was to go and deal with these bombs, and I guess it was common enough that they were still finding them. By the 60s, the story was that they had to get this guy out of retirement, or that he was about to retire or something, cause he just wasn't needed anymore. So, if he wasn't really needed anymore in the 60s...

But it seems like in the last few years they've food a number of these things. And that's just from WWII and not counting any other more recent conflict.