Ahead of Soccer Match, Scary Find Near the Stadium

Active WWII bomb discovered near Germany's Mewa Arena to be defused on Friday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2024 7:21 AM CDT
3.5K Evacuated Near Stadium After Active WWII Bomb Found
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/artisteer)

Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area around a German sports stadium so that an undetonated World War II-era bomb found near the home of a Bundesliga soccer club could be defused on Friday. Per a statement from the city of Mainz, the 1,100-pound weapon was discovered Wednesday not far from Mainz 05's Mewa Arena, ahead of Sunday's match against FC Cologne. CNN notes that the bomb was found during construction work.

More than 3,500 people were set to be cleared from the area on Friday morning so that bomb experts could do their work, which was set to start around noon local time. Nearby companies, a retirement home, a refugee center, and three kindergartens were among those notified. "Emergency services from the regulatory authorities, fire brigade, and disaster control will check the evacuation area before defusing," per the city statement. Mainz 05 noted on Thursday that the stadium's club shop will also be shuttered as the bomb is being defused. Sunday's game isn't expected to be affected.

The detection of WWII-era bombs isn't an uncommon occurrence in Germany; Mainz specifically was hit by dozens of air raids during the war. There's speculation that there are "thousands of tons" of undetonated bombs in Germany overall, per CBS News. This incident also isn't the first time that one has been found near a stadium: In 2015, the area surrounding Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park had to be cleared out for a similar reason. (More Germany stories.)

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