Navy still hopeful of finding lost bomb

ROYAL Navy divers have still not been able to find a 1,000lb bomb they placed off the Felixstowe coast - although they are now working on intelligence from a computer-operated submarine.

Russell Claydon

ROYAL Navy divers have still not been able to find a 1,000lb bomb they placed off the Felixstowe coast - although they are now working on intelligence from a computer-operated submarine.

The 10-man team will resume their quest to re-locate the Second World War shell this morning using photographs taken by a high-tech device called Remus.

The 5ft 8in torpedo-shaped vehicle scanned the seabed yesterday and divers will today continue to investigate suspicious objects it captured in the hope they can finally locate and destroy the device - which they believe is safely contained within a 200-metre area.

Last night, Lieutenant Commander Mark Hankey said: “We are still continuing to analyse the data.

“We have found a variety of contacts which we will be further investigating tomorrow morning.

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“There are two windows for diving a day and we hope to get as much time as we can on the water searching for it. Unfortunately it is not a fast process and we have to be meticulous in our approach.”

The German SC type shell from 1942 washed up on Felixstowe beach early on Monday morning, causing more than 1,000 residents to be evacuated from their seaside homes.

Experts from the Royal Navy's Bomb Disposal Unit said the 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 on the beach - and cause collateral damage up to half a mile inland.

They towed it out to sea on Tuesday and had hoped to detonate it but then it became apparent that strong currents had moved its position and testing conditions have since hampered efforts to relocate it.

Lt Cdr Mark Hankey insisted they were not getting disheartened though.

He said: “We are conducting a meticulous search in difficult conditions in zero visibility and strong tidal streams and at the end of the day we are throwing a large amount of resources into this. It is far from embarrassing.”

Once they find the weapon they plan to attach an indicating line and then an explosive charge will be made up and the bomb will be detonated.

When it goes off it is predicted to shoot a plume of water 150 to 200 ft into the air and the noise should be heard across the town.

Warrant officer Robin Rickard, who is overseeing the diving team, said they had temporarily misplaced the bomb through mechanical and technical mishaps but were putting a lot of work into reacquiring it.

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