Experts have discovered four World War II bombs near the tourist stronghold of Rüdesheim. According to the Rheingau-Taunus district, Europe’s busiest freight train route on the right bank of the Rhine and the parallel federal highway 42 were closed in the afternoon to defuse the situation. The Rhine shipping and the Rüdesheim cable car were also stopped for safety reasons.

Experts from the Hessian explosive ordnance clearance service and Hessen-Forst discovered the four duds during soundings using historical aerial photographs in the middle of the forest high above the Rhine near the Niederwald monument. “It is known that many bombs were dropped here during the Second World War,” said District Fire Chief Michael Ehrlich. Just under a year ago, three aerial bombs were discovered there and rendered harmless.

Fourth bomb must be detonated in a controlled manner

According to Ehrlichsmann, three 50-kilogram explosive devices have been defused so far. According to the police, the fourth World War II bomb weighing 125 kilograms had to be detonated in a controlled manner. “There were no incidents,” said a police spokesman. Only one building, the Niederwald hunting lodge, had to be evacuated. The explosive ordnance clearance service, the police, the public order office, Hessen-Forst, Deutsche Bahn, the rescue service and the fire brigade were involved in the operation involving British and US duds.

Among other things, the emergency services asked residents and excursionists via warning apps to avoid the sites over a large area. “A police helicopter monitors that,” added Ehrlich. The start of the defusing was delayed by almost an hour “because there were still people in the forest”. Later, a cyclist forced a ten-minute break there.

The Niederwald monument, inaugurated in 1883, with its monumental Germania statue, is a tourist hotspot between Höhenwald and vineyards. It was intended to commemorate the unification of Germany in 1871. Today it is part of the World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which is mainly located in the very close Rhineland-Palatinate.