A World War II-era bomb exploded in the coastal town of Great Yarmouth, England, on Feb. 10, as a team of experts attempted to disarm it, according to authorities.
Norfolk Police confirmed in a statement that there were no reports of injuries following the incident.
“No one was injured and damage was limited as a result of a protective sandbox built around the device to mitigate any blast radius in the event of an unintended detonation,” officials said.
A team of bomb disposal experts had been working to diffuse it since the 550-pound explosive device was discovered on Feb. 7 by contractors during dredging work near the River Yare at a site off Southtown Road.
The disposal team planned to cut into the device to set up a controlled explosion, and then move the remainder of the device out to sea for another controlled explosion, but the device exploded shortly after burn-out work to disarm the remaining explosives started.
Following the discovery, police set up a large cordon in the area as they urged local residents to leave the area. The cordons, which were placed at 656 feet and 1,312 feet from the bomb, have since been lifted, Norfolk Police announced on Twitter.
“Most roads reopened in those locations. Southtown Road remains closed while necessary checks on damage take place,” the agency stated, noting that people could return to their homes.
Drone footage released by police captured the moment of the massive blast on the banks of the River Yare, which was heard by residents from miles away.
The unexploded bomb in #GreatYarmouth detonated earlier during work to disarm it. Our drone captured the moment. We can confirm that no one was injured. Public safety has been at the heart of our decision making all the way through this operation, which we know has been lengthy. pic.twitter.com/9SaeYmHkrb
— Norfolk Police (@NorfolkPolice) February 10, 2023
“I live on Ordnance Road on the opposite side of the river. When that went off I jumped out of my skin,” a person who lives near the area of the blast wrote on Twitter, commenting on the video.
Sheila Oxtoby, chief executive of the Great Yarmouth borough council, applauded first responders for their work as she thanked residents for their patience and understanding.
“This has been an unsettling time for many people, most of all for those who were evacuated from their homes,” Oxtoby said. “Safety of the public has been at the heart of decision-making throughout this multi-agency operation.”
“As we often see in these types of incidents, our local communities have pulled together to support each other, following the advice of emergency services and playing their part in keeping everyone safe,” she said. “I’d like to thank everyone involved for bringing this to a safe conclusion and we will continue to help those residents displaced.”
The massive explosion sent debris flying into the air and officials said they have been working to clear most of the debris from Southtown Road, noting that repairs on the surface of damaged roads are underway.