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2400 people evacuated from their homes: Five-ton bomb successfully defused in Bonn-Vilich

2400 people evacuated from their homes : Five-ton bomb successfully defused in Bonn-Vilich

In Bonn-Vilich a bomb from the Second World War was successfully defused late on Monday evening. Before that, about 2400 people had to be evacuated from the affected area.

After an aerial bomb from the Second World War was found on Monday morning on the extension of the S13 in Bonn-Vilich, it was defused in the evening hours. A little later than planned, because some of the people affected could not be found at first during the evacuation, the explosive ordnance disposal personnel finally gave the all-clear at 10.25 pm: Stefan Höreth and Christoph Wassenberg had defused the bomb after about an hour. Usually the experienced experts are faster - but this time the detonator caused them problems.

The 250-kilo monster had not detonated during the crash, but had been clearly damaged. The duo had to carefully unscrew the bent and rusted detonator while the explosives were stuck in the pit wall above them. In any case, they already knew the area: they were also in action at the last bomb discovery in Geislar, only about 500 metres away – and possibly not for the last time. Previously, the city planning service had evacuated around 2400 affected people on Monday.

According to the city of Bonn, they were able to stay at the Bonn-Beuel Ost Comprehensive School until the end of the measures. They were taken there by shuttle buses operated by the Bonn municipal utilities. The explosive ordnance disposal service of the Düsseldorf district government, the public order office and the fire service were on site. An adjacent Bauhaus market was closed. The shopping centre on the B56 with supermarket and drugstore was also affected by the evacuation.

According to information at the site, the bomb was an American 250 kilo aerial bomb, which was placed on a wall of the construction pit. The city of Bonn had initially spoken of a ten-hundredweight-ton bomb. A zone of 400 metres around the site had been defined as the evacuation radius. According to this, parts of Schevastestraße, Nonnenpfad and Gerhardstraße were affected.

Beuel Comprehensive School as a safe space

Meanwhile, the situation at the gymnasium of the Beuel comprehensive school was calm and level-headed. In less than two hours, almost 40 rescue workers had prepared a safe place to stay where they offered food and drink to the inhabitants of the evacuation area. "Apparently, many people from the evacuation radius were more likely to stay with relatives and loved ones after all, others are probably still at work," says fire brigade spokesman Heiko Basten, explaining the initially manageable influx. Small children were hardly ever to be seen among those waiting.

According to the city, around 140 people were in the sports hall. Here it became clear what an evacuation under corona conditions means – including registration and seat assignment. Two patients with a current corona infection and 13 people in quarantine among the residents received special care: "They waited in separate ambulances and were also taken home in them," Christoph Bartz, platoon leader of the civil protection unit, explained the procedure during the measures.

Several residents, such as Rolf Stock from Schnorrenbergstraße, reported that they learned about the bomb defusing in the afternoon rather by chance. Neighbours, the warning app Nina and local media coverage on the internet were the main sources. Later, however, the announcements of the fire brigade and the public order office could not be ignored. "It all went very smoothly. However, we were glad to have the Nina app," said Ernst Stieler from Schevastestraße.

He and Petra Benninghoff-Lühl had quickly made themselves comfortable in their own mobile home in the school's car park. With regard to the bomb find next to the railway line, Stieler is certain that "there will be more to come", in view of the attacks there during the Second World War.

Railway line 66 temporarily cut off

The railway line between Bonn-Beuel and Sankt Augustin-Menden was closed at some stops during the entire clearing and defusing operation. Bus line 603 also ran a diversion in Vilich. Commuters and travellers had the opportunity to use the SWB's rail replacement service to reach the blocked stops. After the explosive ordnance disposal authorities had given the green light, the municipal utilities announced that railway operations on line 66 would be fully resumed from 10.30 pm.

In regard to public transport by the Deutsche Bahn, the lines of the RE27 and RE8 on the Troisdorf/Beuel line were affected during the process of defusing. Buses were also used here as a replacement service.

A pedestrian bridge is currently being used in parallel at Bonn's main railway station. Rail traffic at the main station is therefore also restricted. Due to the partial closure, delays occur especially to long-distance traffic.

Already in February 2019 a World War II bomb was found in Vilich Müldorf during the extension work of the S13. At that time, defusing the bomb could only begin quite a few hours after it was found.

Original text: (ga). Translation: Mareike Graepel