Aftermath of the explosion
A police officer inspects the wreckage of an excavator following the explosion in Euskirchen REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

One man died and eight others were injured - two seriously - when a bulldozer disturbed an unexploded bomb at a rubble storage facility in the German town of Euskirchen, near Bonn.

Doors were blown in, roofs blown off and the windows of houses, offices and cars shattered within a 400-metre radius of the explosion. Local police said the blast caused considerable damage in the area, which includes part of Euskirchen city centre.

Police spokesman Norbert Hardt said: "The operator of a digger hit a bomb from the world war during excavation work in the industrial area here. The bomb exploded and the digger operator was killed."

Millions of tons of bombs were dropped on Germany by the Allies during the second world war, and as one in ten failed to explode on impact thousands remain buried across the country. It is feared any remaining bombs will become progressively more unstable as their detonators deteriorate. Aerial photographs taken by the Allies at the time are still used to find unexploded bombs.

In November a 4,000-pound bomb was discovered in Dortmund, leading to the evacuation of 20,000 people, and in 2012 thousands of Munich residents were evacuated as a controlled explosion shook the city and caused a huge fireball. As one of Germany's most industrial areas the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) which includes Euskirchen was particularly targeted in raids.

Since 2000, 11 bomb disposal experts have been killed across Germany, including three who died as they were about to try and defuse a large bomb in the city of Gottingen in 2010.

Several citizens have also been killed, including a farmer who died in 2008 when he disturbed a phosphorous grenade while harvesting. In 2006 another bulldozer driver near Aschaffenburg died when his machine struck a bomb at a highway construction site. Almost 70 years after the end of the second world war, its deadly legacy continues to claim innocent lives.