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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 1:00 am

Unexploded WWII bomb closes airport

Washington Post

LONDON – All flights to and from London City Airport were canceled Monday after an unexploded World War II bomb was found buried in the muck in the River Thames near the runway.

The local Evening Standard reported: “About 300 arrivals and departures were canceled, with about 9,000 passengers affected, as the airport was not expected to reopen until (this) morning.”

Scotland Yard said, essentially, that it is a very big, very old bomb – a tapered end shell about 5 feet long and weighing half a ton.

There is no word yet from the navy divers on whose bomb it was – though a good guess might be the German Luftwaffe, which waged the Blitz in 1940-1941, the eight-month aerial bombardment of military and civilian targets in Britain. London endured 57 straight nights of bombing. About 43,000 people died, and 1 million were left homeless. About 50,000 tons of high-explosive bombs were dropped during the Blitz. Half the shells were duds.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said Monday that construction crews discovered the bomb buried under 30 feet of ooze in the Thames at the King George V Dock near one end of the airport. The docklands area was a frequent target of German bombing during the war.

“It is lying in a bed of dense silt and the first stage of the removal operation is to free the shell from the silt so that it can be floated for removal,” Scotland Yard said in a statement.

Emergency crews set up a security zone of about 300 yards around the bomb. Disposal experts are expected to say more about the device itself today.