Frankfurt evacuated for disposal of WWII bomb

German authorities are making final preparations in Frankfurt before experts defuse a huge World War II-era bomb Sunday in an operation that includes evacuating more than 60,000 residents.

Unexploded bombs are regularly found in German cities.

Emergency crews had earlier evacuated babies and intensive care patients from two hospitals.

More than 60,000 people have been ordered to leave a radius of 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile) around the site where the 1.8-ton British bomb will be disposed of Sunday.

The fire service helped around 500 elderly people to leave their care homes.

Officials have moved quickly to safely dispose of the bomb, amid concerns that an uncontrolled explosion would destroy an entire block of buildings.

Bomb disposal experts will use a special system to try to unscrew the bomb's fuse from a safe distance.

Every year in Germany more than 2,000 tonnes of munitions and live bombs are discovered, some underneath existing buildings. If that fails, a water jet will be used to cut the fuses away from the bomb. British and American warplanes pummeled the country with 1.5 million tonnes of bombs that killed 600,000 people. Allied forces carried out a heavy bombing campaign, and between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of the bombs that were dropped did not explode.

Air traffic from Frankfurt airport could also be affected and small private planes, helicopters and drones were banned from the evacuation zone.

  • Joey Payne