Frankfurt: The plans to defuse a massive 500-kilogram American bomb, dating back to the World War II, sparked wide evacuations around the Frankfurt Zoo on Sunday.
At least 16,500 people, including residents of a nursing home, were asked to leave by the authorities, according to Deutsche Welle. Around 25 coma and stroke patients were already evacuated to other facilities on Saturday.
An evacuation zone has been created by the authorities around the area, which includes the premises of the European Central Bank (ECB).
While the Frankfurt Zoo is expected to remain closed, the animals will not be moved.
The bomb disposal unit is expected to begin their work at around 12:00 pm (local time) with the operation lasting until 6:00 pm in the evening.
One of the two detonators at the “head” of the bomb is still underground, which may pose a challenge, according to the authorities.
Transport has been impacted as many local subway, tram and bus services have been rerouted. Regional and intercity rail services are expected to bypass the German city altogether. Flight operations may be impacted as well if the need arises.
The WWII era bomb was discovered during construction work. In 2017, the city’s fire department had evacuated 65,000 residents to defuse a British “blockbuster” bomb weighing 1,600 kilograms.