Fourteen thousand people were evacuated yesterday from a district in the German city of Dortmund so that experts could defuse two 250kg bombs, one American and one British, that were discovered left over and unexploded from the Second World War.
Although it was planned in advance, city authorities called it "one of the largest evacuations in the post-war period".
The bombs had been discovered weeks earlier in pre-construction examination of sites in the densely populated hospital district of the city.
Expecting the worst, teams erected six walls of shipping containers across streets radiating from the affected area in order to dampen blast waves (pictured).
In the event, the bombs were successfully defused.
"Call to all affected residents: please leave your apartments until 8 PM!", the city broadcast on social media early on Sunday. Transport services in the vicinity were suspended for the day.
The city erected six walls of shipping containers across streets radiating from the affected area in order to dampen blast waves (City of Dortmund)
The sick and vulnerable in hospitals had been evacuated to shelters the previous day.
German newspaper Deutsche Welle notes that defusing unexploded ordnance prior to construction across Germany is fairly common since around 10% of ordnance dropped during the war rammed into the earth without exploding.
For that reason, before construction projects start, experts will often pore over old Allied aerial photos showing impact craters, so they know where to look.
Central Dortmund was bombed heavily in May 1943 as the Allied aerial campaign targeted the industrial Ruhr District.
According to reports, Dortmund Zoo’s offer of free entry to evacuees was taken up by 300 people.
Top image: Experts pose with the successfully defused ordnance from Dortmund’s hospital district (City of Dortmund)