An airport in London has been shut down following the discovery of a World War II bomb found nearby in the River Thames.
All inbound and outbound fights have been cancelled at London City Airport after a World War II-era bomb was discovered at George V Dock on Sunday, Feb. 11, during planned work at the east airport, the BBC reports. The shutdown has led to the cancellation of 261 flights, affecting some 16,000 passengers.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Navy were working in conjunction to remove the bomb.
Second World War ordnance has been found in the Thames in Newham. @LondonCityAir is closed and road cordons remain in place whilst the Met & @royalnavy work together to remove it. Follow @metpoliceuk & @tfltravelalerts for updates. https://t.co/zOIUpGftvl— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) February 12, 2018
The Royal Navy is taking precautionary steps to ensure that the bomb is “as safe as possible” before they attempt to remove it from the River Thames and tow it away.
“The timing of removal is dependent on the tides, however, at this stage we estimate that the removal of the device from location will be completed by tomorrow morning,” a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police read.
“We will then attach high-grade military explosives before carrying out a controlled explosion later today. The aim is to cause as little disruption to the city of London as possible,” The Royal Navy said. “The first stage of the operation is to free the shell from the silt so it can be floated for removal."
Passengers have been told not to travel to the airport as all terminals have been closed. Passengers are being urged to contact their airlines.
“The airport is cooperating fully with the Met Police and Royal Navy and working hard to safely remove the device and resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” airport CEO Robert Sinclair apologized in a statement.
While more than 261 flights have been cancelled, those living in the area have also been evacuated, with an evacuation zone expected to widen when specialists begin the removal process.
It is expected that all flights will return to normal Tuesday, Feb. 13, following the safe removal of the bomb.