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>> These shells are at least 100 years old, but they still have the potential to kill. As the centenary of the end of World War I approaches. Hundreds of tons of unexploded munitions are estimated to still be buried in Eastern France. Bomb disposal teams, like this one from the Metz Demining Center, are on a mission to unearth them.
> In this case it's difficult because these are very heavy shells, the biggest weigh 120 kilograms. It's enormous, so we're never safe, from the moment the shell's reported. We go out and collect it, that's a matter of principle.>> On this day, five tons of shells were dredged from the river, an unusually large haul.
And this is what it looked like here more than 100 years ago. French troops repelling a German attack near Mort Homme or Dead Man Hill. That offensive was part of the Battle of Verdun, which ran for most of 1916 and was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the war.
Following Mort Homme, the German Army dumped thousands of artillery shells into the river Meuse. Because these shells were never fired, they are relatively stable for the bomb disposal units to handle. But bomb clearance specialist, Guy Momper, who is overseeing the clear-up, says unexploded ordnance still poses a threat.
The Metz Demining Center says it normally collects between 45-50 tons per year. And Momper estimates that it could take another century to clear all the shells.