Buried Treasure24 Oct 2006
Yesterday there were two separate instances in Germany of old munitions being struck by machinery and detonating.
- A construction worker was killed in an explosion on the A3 near Aschaffenburg (between Frankfurt and Würzburg). He was scraping concrete about 30 cm deep when he apparently stuck a buried bomb from WWII. Pieces of machinery were thrown up to 500 meters from the site; a number of cars and houses were damaged, but noone was injured. The autobahn was closed for several hours. Stars and Stripes also has report, as US bases are also in the area.
A farmer in Grabow near Dannenberg struck a phosphorus bomb with his plow, dislodging the detonator and releasing a cloud of phosphorus. He immediately called authorities, and they could only watch as the device exploded a short time later. Noone was hurt. It is thought that there are still a number of bombs buried in the area, as an Allied bomber released a full load of bombs before making a emergency landing in Grabow near the end of WWII.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of old bombs are still found every year. Last week over 20000 residents in Hannover were evacuated from their homes to defuse 3 bombs. The NY Times article quotes the owner of a munitions clears firm: "Well have enough work to keep us busy for the next 100 to 120 years".
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. If a rich, developed country is still clearing munitions 60 years after being devestated by war, how long will it take poor countries to recover from war, especially since modern explosives are smaller and harder to find?