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Ticking time bomb Living on top of old explosives

In July, residents of the mountain village of Mitholz in canton Bern were shocked to find out that an ammunition storage site that had exploded 70 years ago could still present a danger to the public, as 3,500 tons of ammo are lying dormant under the debris.

As Swiss Public Television, SRF, reported, there is ammunition stored in other places too. After the Second World War, Swiss ammunition depots were overflowing. In 1946 and 1947 two of these exploded: Mitholz, where 9 people died, and Dailly in Valais. Up until the 1960s, most of the remaining ammunition from depots was sunk in the lakes of Thun, Brienz and Lucerne.  So for decades, there have been around 8,000 tonnes of it in these lakes. 

But explosives expert Jörg Mathieu says the risk of an explosion or environmental hazard is actually very small.


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