Bonn The aerial bomb that was found on Wednesday at the university hospital in Bonn is to be defused on Thursday afternoon. The partial evacuation has been underway since the evening, and about 1200 residents have had to leave their homes.
At first there was bad luck and then misfortune came along too (a phrase once coined by footballer Jürgen Wegmann). This is a similar description of the situation the university hospital is currently in. While operations are greatly increased due to the corona epidemic, on Wednesday morning during construction work on the grounds of the University Hospital (UKB), a five-tonne aerial bomb from the Second World War was found. The area around the site was cordoned off on a large scale after the explosive ordnance disposal service of the Düsseldorf district government, the city council service and the fire brigade had agreed on the first measures to be taken in cooperation with the clinic management. On Wednesday evening, the clinic hosted a press conference and announced further details.
"The bomb find was approximately in the middle of the grounds of the University Hospital," says Wolfgang Holzgreve, Medical Director of the UKB: "Preparatory work for the Heart Center is currently taking place there. In the early hours of the morning, the 250 kilogram bomb was found in the area where a utility centre is to be built. This is something that is really not needed in these times. "But we are of course prepared for emergencies in times like these.“
The partial evacuation of the hospital had already begun in the evening. "Of course, many patients are still in the hospital. We have laid down in a plan the order in which they are to be transferred," Holzgreve continued. Thus, a total of 144 inpatients are to be transferred for the period of the defusing. Of these, 120 will be within the site. "It is to our advantage that the southern area of the hospital grounds is not affected." The 120 patients are to be brought there. Among them are eleven patients infected with the coronavirus. 23 patients from the surgical and internal medicine departments would have to be transferred externally to other hospitals.
The patients in the intensive care unit are particularly sensitive. Most of them are currently being ventilated, according to the hospital director. This concerns a total of 69 patients. "We're trying to do it in-house." On Thursday, all ambulances will be closed all day long due to the evacuation and defusing of the bomb. "In times of Corona this is of course an additional burden", says Holzgreve.
Carsten Sperling, head of Bonn's city planning office, gave a more detailed report on the defusing on Thursday afternoon. "We have called in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service After examining the bomb, they have decided that it can be defused on site. This means that on the Venusberg, residents are no longer allowed to leave the house during the defusing process from 4 pm. According to Sperling, about 660 residents are affected.
Another district affected by the evacuation is Dottendorf. About 1250 to 1300 people are to be evacuated there. The fire department will drive through the streets with loudspeakers and inform the residents about the evacuation. In addition, a citizen's telephone number 0228/717171 was set up on Wednesday evening to which concerned citizens can call.
Residents in Dottendorf who have to leave their homes during the evacuation are to be accommodated during this time in the comprehensive school "Bonns Fifth" at Eduard-Otto-Strasse 9. "The fire department has already inspected the building. In order to maintain the minimum distance between people, people are to be distributed to the individual classrooms," says Sperling. Between 70 and 80 firefighters from the city ordinance office are to be present.
According to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service, the bomb has two detonators, only one of which is visible. "It can be assumed, however, that the defusing will go off without any problems," Sperling said. The bomb was covered with sand as a precaution. The police will also regularly visit the site where the bomb was found to see if onlookers approach.
Around 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening, the city also issued an official hazard alert to the evacuation. According to the report, the affected inhabitants of Dottendorf should have left their homes by 9 a.m. at the latest. The comprehensive school in Eduard-Otto-Strasse will be available as early as 7:30 am.
(Original text: Thomas Leurs / Translation: Mareike Graepel)