An unexploded bomb, reportedly weighing more than 1,100 pounds, was recently discovered by workers who were excavating an area near the River Thames. The bomb itself was uncovered at the George V Dock on Sunday while laborers were beginning their pre-planned work just east of the London City Airport. Authorities immediately called for a 700-foot exclusion zone, which halted several transportation facilities near the area.
According to a report from BBC News, a total of 261 arrival and departure flights on Monday were shut down. An estimated 16,000 passengers are reportedly affected by the shutdown, which was officially announced at 22:00 GMT on Sunday. Affected passengers have been advised by Airport officials to directly contact their airlines. Some airlines have apparently diverted their flights to other airports, while others have chosen to return the aircrafts back to their point of departure.
Buildings, houses, and other structures within the exclusion zone also had to be evacuated. Newham Council officials reportedly opened up different housing facilities to accommodate the affected families and stranded passengers. All roads leading to and from the airport were blocked off, and motorists heading to the area have been advised to seek alternate routes. The areas currently being blocked off include Kennard Street, Leonard Street, Lord Street, Holt Road, Muir Street, Newland Street, and Tate Road.
Airlines were also advised to keep their planes out of the exclusion area until the unexploded bomb is removed. Aside from the canceled flights, trains operated by Dockland Light Railways, which travel between Woolwich Arsenal and the airport, have also been shut down.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced on social media that his office is currently working with the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Navy to immediately and safely remove the bomb. According to the Metropolitan Police, the removal of the German-built explosive device will be dependent on the tides, but they expect the unexploded ordnance to be removed from the area by Tuesday. The police also assured the public that all necessary precautions will be taken and that they will need to extend the exclusion zone during the lifting and removal of the 59-inch explosive device just in case.