Blast near busy Munich training station occurred during construction works, causing serious injuries.
Near Donnersberger Bridge in central Munich a bomb exploded. The device detonated during drilling works on a construction site close to the main train station. Unexploded bombs are frequently found across Germany – a legacy from WW2. Up to 2,000 tonnes of unexploded bombs are discovered each year.
Police say the bomb exploded during tunnel work near the bridge. Onlookers have reported a loud bang followed by plumes of smoke. Emergency services rushed to the scene and bomb disposal experts shortly followed.
Travel to and from the station was suspended by rail operator Deutsche Bahn whilst the incident was unfurling. It is reported that the bomb was a 550lb (250kg) air dropped weapon of British or American origin.
The drilling works were part of the construction effort, usually for ground investigation or piling works for structural engineering purposes. In Germany, drilling operations are regulated, as unexploded ordnance is a known risk.
It is law in Germany to use specialist equipment to ‘scan’ the ground during drilling operations to ensure that bombs are not struck. Questions have been raised by observers on why the bomb was struck and if such equipment was in use.
In 2010 three police bomb disposal operators were killed in Gottingen while working on a 1,000lb bomb, and in 2014 a construction worker was killed in Euskirchen when a 4,000lb bomb was struck. A similar incident occurred in 1994 in Berlin. Further incidents occurred in 2012 in Munich and in 2015 in Offenbach.
Questions are raised as to why repeated incidences of accidental detonations occur in Germany. Some argue that although regulation exists, it is not effectively monitored and implemented, leading to such tragedies.
There has not been an incident like this since the end of WW2 in the UK. A technical expert in historical bombs has said, “one of the key differences between the types of bombs found in Germany and the types of bombs found in the UK is to do with the fuzing mechanisms. The bombs found in Germany are less stable and so are more likely to function when struck compared to the German-origin bombs found in the UK”.
Brimstone is a leading provider of UXO risk management support, including explosive ordnance disposal, conventional munitions disposal, preliminary UXO risk assessment and detailed UXO risk assessments, intrusive and non-intrusive UXO surveys, UXO safety brief, UXO watching brief and borehole clearance. If you need specialist UXO support reach out to the team.