Police evacuated London City Airport late Sunday after the discovery of a 1,100-pound World War II-era bomb in the nearby Thames River. According to the BBC, members of the Royal Navy determined the undetonated 5-foot shell to be a German bomb, which was uncovered at King George V Dock during maintenance at the airport.
Following the discovery of a World War Two ordnance in King George V Dock as part of planned development works, a 214m exclusion zone has been implemented as a precaution by the Met Police. As a result, London City Airport is currently closed. (1/3)
— London City Airport (@LondonCityAir) February 11, 2018
London City Airport CEO Robert Sinclair said, “I recognize this is causing inconvenience for our passengers, and in particular some of our local residents.”
The airport was closed all day Monday as crews rushed to remove the bomb. Sinclair added that the airport would likely reopen Tuesday.
The closure resulted in the cancellation of 261 flights, affecting roughly 16,000 passengers, although some carriers moved flights to other London airports. Police also evacuated the surrounding area within 700 feet of the bomb.
London City Airport, which had roughly 4.5 million passengers in 2017, is the city’s smallest international airport, The Associated Press reported.
According to the AP, the airport is located in east London’s docklands, a site of heavy bombing during the Nazi air raids.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Navy were working together to remove the bomb.
Second World War ordnance has been found in the Thames in Newham. @LondonCityAir is closed and road cordons remain in place whilst the Met & @royalnavy work together to remove it. Follow @metpoliceuk & @tfltravelalerts for updates. https://t.co/zOIUpGftvl
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) February 12, 2018
“The timing of removal is dependent on the tides, however, at this stage we estimate that the removal of the device from location will be completed by tomorrow morning,” London Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The Ministry of Defence posted photos of Royal Navy divers tasked with inspecting the bomb, adding that armed bomb disposal teams from the British Armed Forces deal with about 60 air-dropped German WWII bombs per year.
A @RoyalNavy diver prepares to inspect a submerged 500kg WW2 bomb in a carefully planned operation with @metpoliceuk at @LondonCityAir. Armed Forces bomb disposal teams from all three services deal with around 60 air dropped German WW2 bombs a year. pic.twitter.com/MEtJgsYP9t
— Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) February 12, 2018