Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have destroyed a 1,500lb German mine discovered on the seabed in The Solent.
The WWII GD ground mine was found by a crane barge 1.5km off Southsea while removing debris from a site being dredged next month in preparation for the arrival of the Navy’s new aircraft carriers.
The bomb disposal team – also fully-qualified clearance divers - towed the air-dropped device overnight to open waters about 1.5km off Bembridge, Isle of Wight. They plan to carry out a controlled explosion today between 1000 and 1100.
A cordon of approximately ¾ mile will be in place during the explosion. It is expected to have only a minimal impact on shipping.
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Petty Officer (Diver) Richard Ellis, in charge of a six-man team of bomb disposal officers from Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2, said: “These mines were laid in their thousands during WWII but are rarely encountered these days – it’s only the second one we have dealt with in three years. The other one was in the mouth of the Thames.
“The mine is in quite good condition, and they were engineered to a very high standard which is probably why it has stayed safe all these years.”
The explosion is expected to create a plume about 300 metres high.
The best vantage points will be Stokes Bay, Gosport, or the eastern Isle of Wight.
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