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  1. ITV Report

Wartime bomb to be dragged 'nine hours underwater' before controlled explosion

Royal Navy bomb disposal diver in King V George Dock close to London City Airport

A Second World War bomb that has closed London City airport will be dragged for nine hours underwater before it is detonated in a controlled explosion.

The bomb, a 500kg tapered end shell measuring 1.5m, was found during work on George V Dock in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Metropolitan Police said the device has been removed from its original position and taken to a secondary location within the dock.

Local residents evacuated during the initial operation on Monday can now return to their homes.

Royal Navy bomb disposal divers

The World War Two bomb will not be brought to the surface, but will instead be towed behind a RIB to Shoeburyness, Essex, before a controlled explosion.

Metropolitan Police said it is estimated the bomb will be removed from its current location on Tuesday morning.

Lieutenant Commander Sean Heaton, who is one of the Royal Navy officers leading the disposal operation, said the main challenge for divers is the silt, mud and darkness on the seabed.

We are controlled by the tides in the Thames as to when we can remove it from the dock.

It is quite dark on the seabed, silt makes it challenging for a diver to stop the mud getting in the way.

We will strap a lifting device to the bomb so we can lift it off the seabed and towards the surface.

There is a minimum chance of anything going wrong, but the Royal Navy divers have received extremely good training and have very good equipment.

It will be taken to Shoeburyness in an eight or nine hour transit and will be towed behind a RIB before we attach our own explosives onto the audience and conduct a controlled explosion.

There are a number of teams, one team of four are on the diving operation and two teams conducting the rib operation.

– Lieutenant Commander Sean Heaton, Royal Navy

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, confirmed it would remain closed for the rest of Monday but it is expected to reopen as normal on Tuesday.