The Second World War might be an event resigned to history books and television for most people, but for those in the United Kingdom’s biggest city it is still taking its toll today.
Construction personnel working near the King George V Dock on the Thames River reportedly discovered a 1940’s era explosive lodged in the mud and quickly contacted the Metropolitan Police and Royal Navy to dispose of it. Authorities then imposed a 214-meter exclusion zone on the area, which forced the closure of the London City Airport and several surrounding businesses.
While smaller and less well known that it’s larger brother, Heathrow, the London City Airport still handles several hundred flights a day, and the latest closure is believed to have disrupted the plans of at least 261 different aircraft bound for the location.
“All flights today are canceled but some airlines have moved their flights to other airports – CityJet to Southend and Alitalia to Stansted”, the airport said in a statement.
When asked for a timeline of when passengers can expect to regain access to the London City Airport, Royal Navy technicians were unclear.
“The timing of removal is dependent on the tides, however, at this stage we estimate that the removal of the device from location will be completed by tomorrow morning” a spokesperson said.
The Navy clarified on the details, explaining “The first stage of the operation is to free the shell from the silt so it can be floated for removal…We will then attach high-grade military explosives before carrying out a controlled explosion…The aim is to cause as little disruption to the city of London as possible.”
Operations remain ongoing to remove the explosive, but authorities seem confident that the airport will be able to continue business as usual tomorrow morning.