An unexploded World War II bomb that closed a London airport is being dragged out to sea to be blown up by the Royal Navy

Ministry of Defence/Business InsiderA Royal Navy bomb-disposal team removing a World War II ordnance near London City Airport.
  • A World War II bomb was found near the runway of London City Airport on Sunday.
  • The airport closed Sunday night through Monday, with hundreds of flights canceled.
  • The British Royal Navy dragged the bomb down the Thames overnight and plans to detonate it in the sea on Wednesday.

The Royal Navy has dragged an unexploded World War II bomb down the River Thames overnight and plans to detonate it at sea on Wednesday.

The bomb – a 500-kilogram tapered-end shell, measuring about 1.5 meters, or 4.9 feet, long – was discovered buried in dense silt near the runway of London City Airport on Sunday morning.

The airport closed Sunday night and through Monday so the London police and a Royal Navy bomb-disposal team could remove the device. Hundreds of flights were canceled, disrupting some 16,000 people’s travel plans.

The bomb-disposal team removed the bomb with a lifting bag and dragged it down the Thames overnight to Shoeburyness, a coastal town 60 kilometers east of the bomb’s original location, a Royal Navy spokeswoman told Business Insider.

The unexploded ordnance is now at a military range in the sea off Shoeburyness, Essex. The navy plans to attach high-grade military detonators to blow it up.

The bomb-disposal team originally wanted to detonate the bomb on Tuesday. It has since postponed the operation to Wednesday because of poor weather conditions, the Royal Navy said.

Cmdr. Del McKnight of the Royal Navy’s fleet diving squadron said in a statement on Tuesday: “The bomb presents no risk to the public in its current location, so we will leave it where it currently sits until tomorrow.”

London city airport bomb shoeburynessGoogle Maps/Business InsiderThe British Royal Navy is transporting a World War II bomb down the Thames from east London to Shoeburyness, east England (rough rendering).
London city airport bomb disposal boatCrown CopyrightRoyal Navy bomb-disposal experts in the Thames.

The area where the airport stands used to be an industrial center, and it came under heavy bombardment from German planes during the war. Unexploded bombs still occasionally turn up during construction work.

London City Airport operates flights to and from the UK and Europe as well as New York. More than 4.5 million people used the airport last year.

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