The stunning discovery of three Nazi bombs have forced one of Italy’s busiest airports to close, with army experts called in to deal with the 150kg of explosives.
By Lauren McMah
Rome’s Ciampino international airport has been temporarily shut down after maintenance work uncovered large German bombs from WWII.
The operator of the airport said the three bombs, which have a combined weight of 150kg, were found on Thursday morning local time during maintenance work on the airport tarmac.
The discovery prompted the airport, which is Rome’s secondary international airport, to be evacuated with all flights suspended as army experts were called in to diffuse and safely remove the bombs.
Some confused passengers said they were initially not told the reason for the evacuation but witnesses said there was no panic.
“I was eating my lunch inside the main building when the restaurant manager said everyone had to leave,” Donato Eramo, a rescue helicopter technician at the airport, told The Local.
“People just left their food and went outside. There was no panic.
“Our helicopters are grounded too. We can’t go out for rescue.”
Some flights to Ciampino would be diverted to Rome’s larger Fiumicino Airport. The airport has since reopened.
A map posted on Twitter by Desk Aeronautico, which is a source of government news used by Italian pilots, shows the area of the airport that was affected.
Rome was bombed more than 1100 times by Allies forces in 1943 and again by Nazi forces as they retreated in 1944, ABC News reported citing an article in the journal of the American Military Institute.
It’s the second time in a year WWII-era bombs have caused a scare in Italy.
In March last year, about 23,000 people were evacuated in the central Italian town of Fano after the discovery of a British-made bomb officials feared might accidentally explode.
Authorities safely removed the one-metre-long device which weighed a whopping 225kg.