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Video | Divers search for WWII bombs at London City Airport expansion site


The largest inshore diving project is underway at the site of London City Airport’s expansion.

The airport has released a behind-the-scenes video of divers carrying out an extensive unexploded ordnance survey at King George V Dock.

As part of the survey, divers have recovered WWII shell casings including a 40mm shell casing dated 1943 and a 3.7 inch shell casing from 1940.

An expert team of divers and surveyors has been checking over 400 sites on the dock bed, deemed to show “ferrous anomalies” during initial magnetometer surveys.

In February 2018 a 500kg German bomb was found just to the south of the terminal’s east pier, leading to the closure of the airport and the implementation of a 214m cordon while the Royal Navy removed the ordnance for detonation off Shoeburyness.

London City Airport chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “This has been a mammoth survey – the largest inshore diving project in the country, on the doorstep of London’s most central airport – requiring world-class skill and patience.”

Construction of a 75,000m² concrete deck at King George V dock started earlier this month. The huge engineering project is to create new land as part of the airport’s £480M expansion.

Delivery partner Bechtel is leading the project alongside main contractor Bam Nuttal, with piling works already underway.

In total over 1,000 piles will be installed to support the deck. Each pile acts as a supporting column, comprising a steel casing with a steel cage inserted and filled with concrete. Each casing is typically 17.5m long and 1m to 1.2m in diameter.

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