5 Dec 2011

Rhine bomb defused

5:57 am on 5 December 2011

Bomb disposal experts in the German city of Koblenz have successfully defused a World War II bomb found in the riverbed of the Rhine.

The 1.8 tonne bomb was dropped by an RAF bomber between 1943 - 1945.

It was discovered when water levels fell because of a prolonged dry spell.

A second, smaller bomb, dropped by American forces was also defused.

Experts say it was the more dangerous of the two.

As a precaution, nearly half the city's population was evacuated during the operation.

It was the biggest bomb disposal operation in Germany since 1945. A BBC correspondent says about 600 tonnes of unexploded ordnance are discovered in Germany every year.

More than 250 block-buster bombs were dropped on Koblenz between 1943 - 1945. The fire department says some are still undiscovered.