Deadly Explosion: World War II Shell Probable Cause of Blast

One man was killed and another seriously injured after an explosive device detonated in the east German town of Niemegk on Monday. The police say it was probably a World War II shell but it is still unclear if the men tampered with the device.

The backyard in Niemegk where the explosion took place.
DPA

The backyard in Niemegk where the explosion took place.

The most catastrophic war of the 20th century may have claimed another victim, after the detonation of what appears to have been a World War II shell in a German town on Monday night.

One man died and another was seriously injured in the incident which took place in the small town of Niemegk, near Berlin. On Wednesday, Christoph Lange, spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in Potsdam, told reporters that the explosion had probably been caused by a World War II shell. However, the police have still not confirmed exactly what type of explosive was involved in the deadly blast.

Many Germans have made a hobby of searching for and collecting World War II relics scattered across the country. The victims, two good friends, are reported to have acquired a metal detector for just that purpose.

According to German media reports, the two men, both aged 40, had made a small backyard campfire and consumed a few beers before apparently deciding to take a closer look at one of their recent finds. A short time later neighbors heard an explosion.

One of the two was killed immediately, while the other was transported by helicopter to a Berlin hospital where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

It is not yet clear how the men were in possession of the explosive device and Lange said that it had not yet been determined if the men had sawed, drilled or tampered in any other way with the explosive.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation the surviving victim could find himself charged with illegally igniting heavy explosives.

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