Explosives experts are drilling holes in and around Salzburg's main train station to pinpoint the locations of up to seven suspected World War II-era bombs.
Officials said Wednesday that soundings tests indicated metal parts are buried in the soil, suggesting the presence of bombs dropped by the Allies during the war. "We want clarity," said Johannes Gfrerer, a spokesman for OEBB, the Austrian national railway. "That's why we're making these soundings. We want to be able to close this chapter for good."
Experts say Salzburg - the quaint, cobblestoned birthplace of Mozart - is littered with more than 100 WWII-era bombs, some weighing up to 250 kilos (550 pounds). Although most are not believed to be dangerous, a large U.S. bomb exploded in 2003 near Salzburg station, killing two de-miners who were trying to defuse it.
Salzburg's railway lines and train station were major targets of Allied bombing during the war, and many bombs from that period remain in the area. Nationwide, authorities say, the Allies dropped more than 120,000 tons of bombs, mines and incendiary devices across Austria. Up to 30 percent of those explosives never went off.
Munitions experts have been analyzing U.S. aerial photographs taken shortly after bombardments in 1944 and 1945 that could help pinpoint the locations of other unexploded bombs.