Monday, 29 January 2018

26 Hours to Diffuse a 450kg Bomb

A bomb disposal officer inspects the bomb found in a construction site
Part of Wan Chai was at a standstill yesterday when bomb disposal officers successfully defused a 450kg explosive from World War II at a construction site. For 26 hours roads in the area were closed off, while people were evacuated from offices and hotels.

This is the second time in Hong Kong history that such a large bomb was discovered in the city centre.

A group shot of the bomb squad and the American explosive
The bomb squad used pressurized water and sanding to cut holes in the large cigar-shaped free-fall bomb to incinerate the explosive material inside before it could be safely removed from the site, buried 25 metres deep.

"The whole process was quite complicated. It took a bit longer than we expected," said senior police bomb disposal officer Tony Chow Shek-kin. The bomb was an American-made AN-M65, thought to have been dropped by US warplanes sometime between 1941 and 1945.

"Because the bomb was so big, we had to cut several holes to burn off the explosives inside. The space was tight and the bomb was also slanted at an angle," he said.

If the bomb had exploded, the 225kg of explosives would have sent shrapnel flying as far as 2km, Chow said.

"The shock wave and impact of the bomb could easily have measured 200 to 300 metres. The windows of buildings in the area would have probably shattered and it's possible those nearby would have collapsed," he added.

Roads were closed off and people evacuated in Wan Chai
The 1.4 metre-long bomb with a 0.45m diameter was found in the construction site of the Sha Tin-Central rail link on Harbour Road. As a result, most of Harbour Road and Convention Avenue were blocked off, and the nearby Harbour Road Sports Centre was also closed.

The last big bomb that was defused was in 2014 in Happy Valley and weighed 900kg.

Makes you wonder what other bombs are lurking beneath the surface! But at the same time it's fascinating history too.

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