French port closed as demining teams destroy aging bombs
Access to the port of Calais in northern France was closed on Sunday as demining teams prepared to defuse several World War II bombs discovered during construction work.
Among the discoveries were two bombs, one of them boobytrapped, that were dropped by British aircraft during the war, each weighing 227 kilograms.
Construction teams working to upgrade the port last month also found 25 shells, said local official Denis Gaudin.
Police have marked out a danger zone stretching 1.5 kilometers, closing off the entry to France’s busiest passenger port which provides the main sea route to the United Kingdom for cars and transport vehicles.
The teams had until early afternoon, when the tide would start coming in, to defuse and remove the explosives.
Diggers were creating earth barriers to protect against the blast from the two largest bombs, which were less than 20 meters from an under-construction pipeline.
The booby-trapped bomb — often used during the war to try kill demining teams — required special care as the explosives experts had to defuse each part without sending shockwaves or shrapnel that would trigger other parts of the explosive.
Calais is in the midst of a 650-million-euro (US$772 million) makeover to increase its capacity and improve its rail and road infrastructure.