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London City Airport closed after WWII bomb found

AFP  |  London 

was closed today as military experts worked to remove a 500-kilogramme (1,100- pound) German World War II bomb found in a neighbouring dock.

The unexploded ordnance was discovered in George V Dock, during planned works near the runway of London's most central airport.

said the 1.5-metre (five-foot) shell was "lying in a bed of dense silt" and removing it depended on the tides.

"At this stage we estimate that the removal of the device from location will be completed by tomorrow morning," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Today's shutdown affected up to 16,000 passengers who were due to fly, although some airlines switched their flights to other hubs.

The bomb was discovered at around 5:00am (local time) yesterday and a 214-metre exclusion zone was imposed "to ensure that the ordnance can be safely dealt with whilst limiting any risk to the public," police said.

Homes within the exclusion zone were evacuated overnight and the local authority was providing residents with temporary accommodation and support.

"Officers are assisting with a controlled evacuation of up to 500 people," the local authority said in a statement, adding that a former town hall building had been opened up for evacuees.

It said specialist officers "have attended and confirmed it as a German 500-kilogramme fused device".

said: "Work will not start on lifting and removing the device until the initial 214-metre zone is clear.

"When work starts to remove it, it is expected the exclusion zone will be extended to 250 metres and more properties will need to be evacuated."

operates short-haul flights and is located in east London, close to the Canary Wharf business district.

It is the capital's fifth-biggest airport.

"The airport remains closed this morning," its chief executive said earlier in the day.

"All flights in and out of City on Monday are cancelled," he said.

"I urge any passengers due to fly today not to come to the airport and to contact their for further information."

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

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 20:40 IST