COLOGNE (dpa-AFX) - The aerial bomb from the Second World War found near the RTL broadcasting center in Koln has been defused. The city announced this on Wednesday afternoon and reported that it had been "a challenging and unusual operation". The ten-ton bomb found during dredging work in the Rhine had been placed on a pontoon - a floating island - by an excavator shovel. The explosive ordnance disposal service then defused it there.

The RTL broadcasting center - as well as other buildings in the vicinity of the site - was evacuated for the defusing operation. This led to visible changes in the private broadcaster's program. The midday journal "Punkt 12", for example, was initially still able to be broadcast from the studio, but then had to move. Presenter Roberta Bieling then greeted viewers live and in the fresh air from the Rheinpark, which is very close to RTL.

In addition to RTL, other companies such as the HDI insurance group and the headquarters of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) were located within the 500-meter evacuation radius. Residents, on the other hand, were hardly affected. According to the city, shipping and rail traffic also had to be suspended during the evacuation.

The American unexploded bomb was found during dredging work in the Rhine on Wednesday morning./idt/DP/jha