A 250 kg World War II bomb detonated last Friday (10) while being defused in Great Yarmouth, a city in eastern England. The explosion was unplanned, but no one was hurt, according to Norfolk Police.
Armed Forces specialists have been studying how to disarm the device since last Tuesday (7), when it was discovered near two gas pipes by a worker working in the region. The device was in the passage of a river that crosses the city.
To protect residents during the operation, the surrounding buildings were evacuated and the area was isolated with cords that were up to 400 meters from the pump. Emergency services even built a sand barrier around it.
At first, the idea was to make a partial explosion on Thursday (9) and then take the artifact to a safe environment for a new detonation. To do so, they used a robot to cut the fuse — a process that was destabilized, according to the British state network BBC. The solution, then, was to use a technique that slowly burns the explosive. That’s what was happening before the explosion.
“The approach was the safest option to disarm the device, but it always carried the risk of unintentional detonation,” Nick Davison, deputy chief of local police, told the BBC. “Fortunately everyone is safe and agencies are meeting to assess the damage to the river wall.”
The impact of the blast broke windows of nearby vehicles, damaged the top of a scaffold and eroded a flood wall. The pipelines close to the area, however, were not damaged, according to Cadent, administrator of the local gas network. On social media, users said they heard the explosion and felt the tremors up to 24 km away.
Deputy Leader of Great Yarmouth Council, Graham Plant, thanked those involved in the safe outcome. “We will continue to support the most vulnerable residents in this process, and our road team and our Environmental Agency partners can already begin to assess the impact of the explosion,” he continued.
After the incident, the cordons were lifted and the streets reopened. By Friday night, residents had already been allowed to return to their homes.
In 2021, a World War II bomb exploded near a train station in Munich, in southern Germany, when it was hit during drilling for a work. The accident left four injured.
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