London: The discovery of a 227-kg unexploded World War II-era bomb has led authorities here to evacuate over 150 people, who had to spend the night in a rest centre in east London. The bomb, found by contractors at a building site in Bethnal Green area of the city yesterday afternoon, was thought to have been dropped during German ombing raids in the early 1940s but did not detonate, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Families spent the night in a school hall in a Bethnal Green Academy where a rest centre was operational. A police hazard zone cordon was extended to 200 metres, leading to families being evacuated to a Tower Hamlets Council rest centre.
“After discussions with the army, the London fire brigade and the Metropolitan police, we have agreed to extend the exclusion zone to 200 metres. We understand that this will cause inconvenience for a lot of residents. We urge residents to look at alternative places to stay for the night. “We do have an operating rest centre at the Bethnal Green academy – where we will be providing beds, food, drinks, and wash bags,” a council spokesperson said.
Army’s bomb disposal experts have been working overnight to try and defuse the bomb. The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed a bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps was on the site and assisting police. “A specialist military bomb disposal team from 11 EOD Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps are on site in Bethnal Green and are assisting the police with the ongoing incident involving a (Second World War) German aircraft bomb that was discovered earlier,” a spokesperson said.
Earlier this year, the squadron defused similar historic bombs in Bermondsey, south London, and Wembley, north London.