Bomb detonation delayed until tomorrow
A BOMB disposal team called off its plans to detonate a 500 kilo bomb off the Felixstowe coast this evening – and will try again on Wednesday morning.
A BOMB disposal team called off its plans to detonate a 500 kilo bomb off the Felixstowe coast this evening - and will try again on Wednesday morning.
The explosion had been expected to happen at 2pm, but was put back until at least 6pm because strong current were hampering the Royal Navy operation.
Now they have decided to examine the bomb again on Wednesday and attempt the controlled explosion then.
A police spokesman said: “The bomb was towed two miles out to sea today by RN Mine disposal to be countermined - that is, to be exploded by a small charge to be fixed to it once in position on the seabed - and its GPS location is known.
“However the strong tidal streams have prevented Navy divers from completing the operation.”
He said more Royal Navy divers would be sent to help tomorrow morning
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“The bomb itself is no more dangerous than it was when first found; however, the exclusion zone imposed by the MCA remains in place until the bomb can be exploded.
“Ashore, those people evacuated from their homes in a police operation were allowed to return home soon after midday today once the bomb had been taken more than half a mile out to sea.”
Up to 1,200 people were told to leave their homes on Monday and were asked to seek shelter with friends and family. Many families spent the night at Brackenbury Sports Centre in High Road East, Felixstowe, before they were allowed back earlier today.
Roads around the area were cordoned off and Langer Primary School in Langer Road is due to be closed all day.
Earlier, the police spokeswoman warned that residents had been seen going back to their homes within the cordon before it was safe.
“If the bomb goes off this could cause substantial damage,” they warned.
Experts from the Royal Navy's Bomb Disposal Unit said the 500kg Second World War bomb - thought to be one of the largest ever to be washed up on Britain's coastline - had the potential to “flatten” a huge area of Felixstowe's seafront if it exploded - and cause collateral damage up to half a mile inland.
The huge German shell was swept on to the beach by wind-lashed waves over the weekend - and was spotted by a workman who accidentally scooped it into his digger bucket.
Police set up a half-mile exclusion zone along the seaside of Langer Road, between Under Cliff Road West and Manor Road.
The Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Squad arrived at the scene at 5.30pm yesterday to identify the bomb once the tide had gone out.
It turned out to be much larger than first thought and police were immediately advised to evacuate homes surrounding the area for safety reasons.
The five-strong bomb disposal team secured the shell so it would not be washed back out to sea by the next high tide.
They returned this morning to attach the bomb to inflatable towing equipment and at about 10.30am it was taken out to sea at high tide.
Petty Officer Diver Dave Moore said: “We have positively identified it as a 500kg German bomb from the Second World War.”
P/O Moore said his team would probably be about 400-500 metres away from the bomb when it was detonated.
He said the noise of the explosion would be heard throughout the town.