Saturday, 8 February 2014

Bomb Scare in Happy Valley

The giant World War II-era bomb packed with 450kg of explosives
On Thursday afternoon Hong Kong had quite a shock when a 2,000-pound bomb from World War II was discovered in a Happy Valley construction site.

Some 2,200 people who were within a 200-metre radius of the bomb had to be evacuated, including guests from the Cosmo Hotel and Cosmopolitan Hotel and Xinhua News Agency on Queen's Road East.

The device was an AN-M66 that contained 450kg of explosives -- enough to knock out a few buildings.

It was the biggest bomb of its kind dropped on Hong Kong by US bombers as part of a one-day pounding of Japanese positions on January 16, 1945.

Senior bomb disposal officer Jimmy Yuen Hon-wing of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Bureau said a US bomber flying out of Guangzhou had carried the bomb but it must have landed on soft ground and failed to detonate.

The police team poses with the diffused bomb with two holes
Yuen said they didn't dare move the bomb in case it could cause severe damage in the area and a controlled explosion was out of the question as well.

In the end the team worked overnight and managed to diffuse it by 7am the next morning. Yuen said there were technical problems in drilling holes into the bomb because it had so much explosives in it.

"Because the explosive inside was very sensitive, we had to cut the shell in a low-temperature environment, so the process took longer than expected," he said.

This was the biggest assignment in his 22-year career for the 55 year old police senior superintendent.

Yuen and his team had to cut two holes into the casing of the bomb in order to get in to diffuse it. They had to keep the temperature of the cutting gear down to 400 degrees Celsius and while they thought it would take them a few hours, stretched into nine.

Where did the hotel guests stay at that evening? Other hotels, including The Peninsula... which under normal circumstances would have cost them a bomb...

1 comment:

  1. The men that actually did the operation are not in the photo. Yuen was there to deal with the press, not the job.