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Published: Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 11:55:03 PM
Updated: Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 11:56:02 PM

Builder dies after war-era bomb explodes in Germany

Police officers inspect the wreckage of an excavator and a crater caused by an explosion during earthworks, in the western city of Euskirchen January 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Police officers inspect the wreckage of an excavator and a crater caused by an explosion during earthworks, in the western city of Euskirchen January 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

EUSKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) - A World War Two-era bomb exploded in the German town of Euskirchen near Bonn on Friday, killing a construction worker after his mechanical digger dislodged it and injuring eight other workers.

Television footage from the scene showed the mangled wreckage of the digger's cab and a nearby hut, and windows and doors blown out by the blast.

"During excavations...the digger uncovered a wartime bomb, which exploded. The driver was killed, and several others close to the digger were hurt. Two are seriously injured and six lightly," police spokesman Norbert Hardt said.

"The blast caused significant damage, also in neighbouring streets where glass and garage doors were blown out," he added.

Euskirchen is situated in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany's most populous state. During World War Two the state was pounded by Allied bombs, as it is home to one of Germany's most dense industrial areas.

Every year hundreds of war-time bombs are still uncovered in Germany, though most are successfully detonated.

NRW's interior ministry said it defused 706 bombs in 2012, 239 of which weighed more than 50 kilos. Experts increasingly use Allies' war-time aerial photographs to find unexploded bombs, although many are also uncovered accidentally during construction work.

(Reporting by Petra Wischgoll, Writing by Alexandra Hudson, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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