London City Airport shuts down due to unexploded WWII bomb

Airplanes are parked at London City Airport in London, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. London City Airport is closed all day due to a WWII unexploded bomb. Cancellations are expected at London City Airport after an unexploded World War II bomb was uncovered nearby. The device was found at George V Dock during work at London City Airport.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Planes on the apron at London City Airport which has been closed after the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb was found in the nearby River Thames, Monday Feb. 12, 2018. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)
Airplanes are parked at London City Airport in London, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. London City Airport is closed all day due to a WWII unexploded bomb. Cancellations are expected at London City Airport after an unexploded World War II bomb was uncovered nearby. The device was found at George V Dock during work at London City Airport.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON — All flights in and out of London City Airport were canceled Monday after a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) unexploded World War II bomb was found nearby in the River Thames.

The Metropolitan Police service cleared an area within 214 meters (700 feet) of the bomb, including several residential streets, as officers worked with specialists from the Royal Navy to remove the device.

Police said the German bomb was discovered Sunday at the George V Dock during pre-planned work at City Airport. They described it as a 1.5-meter (5-foot) shell that was lying in a bed of dense silt.

"The first stage of the removal operation is to free the shell from the silt so that it can be floated for removal," police said in a statement.

After that, navy bomb-disposal experts will tow it away and destroy it underwater in a controlled explosion.

Local officials offered emergency accommodations to residents, although some refused to leave their homes.

Airport CEO Robert Sinclair said he recognized that passengers will be inconvenienced but said the airport was cooperating fully with authorities "to resolve the situation as quickly as possible."

Sinclair said later that he expected the airport to reopen Tuesday.

London City, the smallest of London's international airports, handled 4.5 million passengers last year. Popular with business travelers, it's located in east London's docklands, an area that was heavily bombed by the German air force during World War II.

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