WWII Bomb In Graz

News Brief: Apr. 2011

A 250 kg aircraft bomb dating from World War II was detected during construction at the Central Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof) in Graz, Mar. 25, causing panic and evacuations.

Authorities evacuated the surrounding area at about 14:00 when initial attempts to deactivate the bomb proved unsuccessful. Train service from Graz to Bruck an der Mur and Spielfeld was suspended for several hours, and the trams and busses had to be redirected throughout the city.

After a failed attempt to defuse the object by attaching a cutter-charge (Schneidladung), usually causing the opening of the bomb and only causing minor damage, experts were forced to fully detonate the relict from WWII causing a blast at about 22:00 that was heard across the city, according to the Austrian daily Der Standard. Shortly afterward, all suspensions of public transportation were ended.

The evacuation circle of 200 metres, included three hotels, a number of bars, restaurants, shops and flats; over 100 policemen supervised the evacuation process, and nobody was hurt. Lodgers living in a 1,000 meter circle of the train station were asked to stay inside via broadcast and loudspeakers. Despite the power of the blast wave, damage was limited.

In another recent incident, another purported World War II aircraft bomb was discovered that turned out not to be a bomb at all but piece of a piece of a brick wall. The alert, however, was legitimate: Between 1944 and 1945, the Hauptbahnhof in Graz was the victim of extended U.S. air strikes operating from southern Italy a total of 24 times, leaving behind an unknown number of bombs in the area, some of which are still thought to be live.

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