There are many unexpected things that happen when we travel, whether it is with our schedule or things even more out of control. How about a WW II bomb being discovered not far from where you are? That is what happened this past week when a WW II bomb was found in the northern city of Greece, Thessaloniki.
A WW II Bomb Discovered and Removed From Thessaloniki
I am literally all over the city and even was in the area of the bomb several times. It was on the west side of the city of Thessaloniki and it was discovered when a gas station owner was doing some work with new tanks. The reports said that the equipment digging stopped 4 millimeters from the bomb!
This bomb discovery led to the forced evacuation of over 72,000 people that lived within the 1.2 mile area that they were clearing. The 250kg bomb had 150kg of explosives in it and it was said that a detonation would have caused damage over a 200 meter area. However, due to the fact that it was near gas tanks and the idea that there may be other bombs, authorities determined that a 1.2 mile area was the safest.
The video below is from a Greek site but even though it is all in Greek, you can still watch the transportation of the bomb.
The evacuation began early this past Sunday morning and the police had said they would arrest anyone staying in the zone (though there were many that stayed in their homes anyway). It took only about 30 minutes to disarm the bomb and then came the task of removing it to an army shooting range for a detonation there. But, the evacuation was in place for several hours until the removal could be finished.
Where Did the Bomb Come From?
The first time many of us were hearing about the bomb last week, it was said it was a German bomb (possible a SC250) which is not an uncommon find around Europe, from what I understand. But, we later learned (from many Greek sources here) that it was actually a bomb dropped, accidentally, by the British Air Force as they were trying to bomb the Germans that were in the harbor of Thessaloniki. The bomb had mistakenly dropped in this place as one of many bombs dropped on December 5, 1943. There is another date mentioned as well by a local resident who claimed to have remembered the day it was dropped.
The bomb had sat there for over 70 years! Certainly great news for all the residents in the area. Now, it has been removed and the city is back to normal. Many things, including buses and trains, had been halted this past Sunday has the evacuation and road closures caused disruptions from the western side of the city.
It is strange to think that there was something like that near where I had been many times! And then to have the whole process done for diffusing and removal just a few miles away was quite interesting! Tourists that were here in Thessaloniki last weekend certainly got more than the tourist guidebooks had told them about!
The authorities certainly seemed to do a great job with both the evacuation and the handling of the bomb – very thankful for that and for them!
Have you ever been surprised by something completely unusual in your travels?