A 500 kilo German Second World War bomb that has closed City airport will be dragged for nine hours underwater before it is detonated in a controlled explosion at Shoebury.

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

The  bomb has not been brought to the surface, but is instead being towed behind a rib to Shoebury before a controlled explosion.

Lieutenant Commander Heaton said: "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."


Yesterday dozens of flights were cancelled when  the airport was forced to close. Many flights were diverted to Southend Airport.

City Airport has now reopened.

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport said: “The World War Two ordnance discovered in King George V Dock has been safely removed by the Royal Navy and Met Police. As a result, the exclusion zone has now been lifted and the airport will be open as normal on Tuesday. I would like to thank the Navy, Police and the London Borough of Newham for their professionalism and expertise in bringing this incident to a safe conclusion. Finally, 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 closure – thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Passengers due to travel on Tuesday were asked not to arrive more than two hours before their flight.