The biggest Second World War bomb ever found in Poland has exploded underwater as navy divers tried to defuse it.
Weighing almost 5,400kg – including 2,400kg of explosive – the Tallboy bomb was dropped by Britain’s Royal Air Force in 1945 in an attack on the German cruiser, Lutzow.
More than 750 people were evacuated from the area near the Piast Canal, outside the town of Swinoujscie in northwest Poland, where the weapon was discovered.
The canal connects the Baltic Sea with the Oder River on Poland’s border with Germany.
Second-Lieutenant Grzegorz Lewandowski, the spokesman of the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla, said no one was injured because all the divers were at a safe distance from the blast.
Polish navy demolition experts were trying to neutralise it underwater through remote deflagration, which means burning out its explosives, but it went off in the process.
“The deflagration process turned into detonation”, Second-Lieutenant Lewandowski was quoted as saying by state-run news agency PAP.
“The object can be considered as neutralised, it will not pose any more threat,” he continued, saying “all mine divers were outside the danger zone”.
Swinoujscie contains a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, but a spokesman for the town’s mayor told PAP no one was injured and no buildings had been damaged.
The Tallboy bomb was designed by British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis and was used by the RAF to destroy large Nazi-controlled assets through underground shocks.
It was found beneath a waterway leading to the port of Szczecin during work to deepen the passage in September 2019.
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