Panic was observed on London streets as 1,500 homes were evacuated before a World War II bomb was detonated under controlled conditions on May 23.
The bomb was found on a construction site near the Kingston University in south west London on Thursday and the Metropolitan Police Service was called at 9:15 BST, reported the BBC.
The police reached out to the Ministry of Defence for help and the adjoining areas were condoned. “The item has been examined by specialist officers. We have sought the assistance of MoD,” said a spokesman for the Kingston Police, according to Surrey Live.
We end the week on a delightful high 🤗 GSU MACA Troop successfully took part in the safe demolition of a WW2 German Bomb in Kingston Upon Thames, London. Working tirelessly through the night to put in a mitigation system to allow for a safe controlled detonation.@Proud_Sappers pic.twitter.com/JbDy46cPxf
— Carver Barracks (@carverbarracks) May 24, 2019
1,500 homes and a part of the Penryhn Road campus at Kingston University had to be evacuated as the investigating team set on its task to detonate the 550-pound German bomb, one of the largest in the recent years, Dailymail reported.
Since 2010 until early 2018, the British Ministry of Defense said it was tasked with dealing with 450 unexploded German WWII bombs, and such explosives continue to be discovered around the United Kingdom.
The Ministry of Defence told BBC Reality Check that about 10 percent of the bombs dropped over the country during the war didn’t explode.
Most of these explosives are found buried deep and are often discovered by construction workers, as in this case.
Residents’ fury as controlled explosion of WWII bomb in London street leaves windows smashed and cars wrecked
550lb German bomb was discovered on a building site in south-west London
1,500 Kingston residents were evacuated as the bomb disposal team set… https://t.co/GNlqUuVNAj
— Duncan Campbell (@Maven1967) May 27, 2019
A typical German World War II bomb weighed 110 to 550 pounds. Larger bombs were 1100 to 2200 pounds, according to the BBC.
Controlled Explosion Spread Panic
After the cordon on Thursday, the bomb was detonated under controlled conditions at 4:15 p.m. on Friday.
The loud explosion and reverberations were heard miles away. It left cars and home windows broken and people were seen crying on the roads, according to the Daily Mail.
Local residents and students at the University campus shared about the evacuation on social media.
“Unexpected afternoon off work due to unexploded WW2 bomb. Now hoping my road doesn’t get evacuated,” Claire from Kingston University said on Twitter.
— Claire (@claire_notclare) May 23, 2019
Bubbles Shisha Cafe remained closed due to the evacuation on Thursday and Friday and shared updates about the situation on Twitter.
“Penryhn Road campus & 500m surrounding has been evacuated due to an unexploded WW2 bomb unearthed on Fassett Road. We have had to evacuate and close until the police & authorities inform us the area is safe again. We will keep you updated. Be safe1” said the cafe’s first message on Twitter.
Kingston University, Penryhn Road campus & 500m surrounding has been evacuated due to an unexploded WW2 bomb unearthed on Fassett Road. We have had to evacuate and close until the police & authorities inform us the area is safe again. We will keep you updated. Be safe 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/1T5hSDTpC5
— Bubbles Shisha Cafe (@BubblesShisha) May 23, 2019
People expressed surprise realizing that the bomb could have exploded anytime.
“Okay so they found a WW2 bomb in Kingston University and this was a good description of my facial expression upon realizing that the bomb could’ve gone off any time within the 4 years I studied there…” said Twitter use Joub Chego.
WWII bomb was found at Kingston University. After 8 months of school, I’m glad I’m still alive. pic.twitter.com/YfJprJkWbJ
— Nuttha Isaraphithakkul (@nuttha_i) May 23, 2019
The cordon was lifted by Friday night. “I would like to thank all local residents and businesses owners who have been displaced by this inconvenience,” said Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar, according to Surrey Live.
“The response from the local community and Kingston Council has been so understanding and we are grateful for your cooperation.”