Lon­don air­port to re­open af­ter WWII bomb re­moved

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FOREIGN -

Lon­don City Air­port was due to re­open yes­ter­day af­ter the re­moval of a World War II bomb which had been dis­cov­ered close to the run­way.

The 500-kilo­gramme (1,100pound) Ger­man bomb was found early on Sun­day morn­ing in King Ge­orge V Dock, dur­ing planned works close to Lon­don’s most cen­tral air­port.

As bomb dis­posal ex­perts from the po­lice and Royal Navy worked to move the un­ex­ploded ord­nance, the air­port was shut down and two suc­ces­sive ex­clu­sion zones im­posed.

Lon­don City Air­port Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Robert Sin­clair an­nounced flights would re­sume yes­ter­day af­ter the bomb was suc­cess­fully re­moved from the dock.

“The ex­clu­sion zone has now been lifted and the air­port will be open as nor­mal on Tues­day,” he said in a mid­night (0000 GMT) state­ment.

“To ev­ery­one who has been af­fected -- whether you were due to fly on Mon­day, were evac­u­ated from your home or had your com­mute to work dis­rupted by the DLR (Dock­lands Light Rail­way) clo­sure -- thank you for your pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing,” Sin­clair added.

Mon­day’s shut­down af­fected up to 16,000 pas­sen­gers who were due to fly from Lon­don’s fifth-big­gest air­port, although some air­lines switched their flights to the city’s other hubs.

Lon­don City Air­port opened in 1987 in the dis­used dock­lands. It han­dled 4.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2017 and is mainly used by busi­ness trav­ellers.

The bomb dis­posal op­er­a­tion ini­tially saw the evac­u­a­tion of up to 500 res­i­dents, who were al­lowed to re­turn to their homes on Mon­day evening while oth­ers were evac­u­ated from an­other area af­ter the 1.5-me­tre (five-foot) shell was moved within the dock.

The Ne­wham Coun­cil lo­cal au­thor­ity es­tab­lished a rest cen­tre and asked res­i­dents to stay with fam­ily or friends if pos­si­ble.

Re­moval of the fused de­vice had de­pended on the tides, which left author­i­ties wait­ing un­til around mid­night be­fore they could trans­port the bomb fur­ther along the River Thames to be safely dealt with.

Jonny Camp­bell, the naval of­fi­cer in charge of the bomb dis­posal divers, said the ord­nance would be towed along the river af­ter be­ing re­moved from the sea bed.

“We will then at­tach high-grade mil­i­tary ex­plo­sives be­fore car­ry­ing out a con­trolled ex­plo­sion,” he added.

Lon­don was heav­ily bombed dur­ing the “Blitz”, the Nazi Ger­man air at­tacks of Septem­ber 1940 to May 1941.

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