United Kingdom

Aerial pictures show blast crater the size of a double decker bus after WWII bomb exploded in Exeter

These stunning aerial pictures shows a blast crater the size of a double decker bus left after a recently discovered World War Two bomb exploded in Exeter. 

The controlled detonation, which sent metal debris flying more than 250 yards, was seen and heard by shocked residents from several miles away.

More than 2,600 people had to be evacuated and a 400-yard cordon set up to mitigate the explosion of the unearthed Nazi 'Hermann bomb' on Saturday evening.

The majority of locals have now been allowed back to their homes and are assessing the scale of destruction caused in the city, which includes smashed windows and broken walls.

An aerial view captured by a drone showing a blast crater the size of a double decker bus left after a recently discovered World War Two bomb was exploded on Saturday evening in Exeter, Devon

Other images capture the scale of destruction caused in the middle of the city and to properties nearby. The majority of locals have now been allowed back to their homes and are assessing the amount of damage caused

Damage assessments are underway at the site in Exeter, Devon, following the control explosion of the World War Two bomb by the Ministry of Defence. More than 2,600 people were evacuated before the detonation

Rubble pictured near the site in Exeter. A police spokesperson said: 'Debris, including large metal objects, were thrown in the blast, some of which landed on nearby roofs, which required the use of a crane to remove'

Pictures captured by a drone show the huge mass of the crater that remains on the site next to university land in Devon. They also lay bare the extent of damage caused to a number of properties nearby.

Police say these are 'predominantly' within the 100m-zone and 'suffered structural damage, including broken windows and cracked walls'.

A spokesperson added: 'Debris, including large metal objects, were thrown in the blast, some of which landed on nearby roofs, which required the use of a crane to remove.'

The MoD said it had to be detonated in-situ instead of being taken away over fears it had been booby-trapped by the Nazis. 

A spokesperson added: 'The fuse was so corroded they could not determine what type of fuse it was, whether it was booby trapped (a common German practice to defeat the EOD teams of the day), so it was not safe to try to remove the fuse and thus render the device safe to move.'

Around 800kgs of the 1,000kg bomb was made up of high explosive and to mitigate that, a 400-tonne sand box was installed around the device.

The MoD spokesperson added: 'The most significant damage to property was sustained within a 100m blast radius, with mitigation debris, e.g. some of the 400 tonnes of sand being kicked out to approximately 250m from the detonation site.

'MOD JRLO assessment is between five to 12 structures will require structural inspection by civil engineering companies.

An aerial view showing the huge mass of the crater that remains on the site. Police say damaged properties are 'predominantly' within the 100m-zone and 'suffered structural damage, including broken windows and cracked walls'

A cordoned off area near the site in Exeter, Devon, following the controlled explosion. The MoD said the bomb had to be detonated in-situ instead of being taken away over fears it had been booby-trapped by the Nazis

Damage assessments underway near the site in Exeter. Around 800kgs of the 1,000kg bomb was made up of high explosive and to mitigate that, a 400-tonne sand box was installed around the device

Nearby properties and a cordoned-off area in the city following the blast on Saturday evening. An MoD spokesperson said: 'The most significantly affected property is the residential Dennyshill Care Home'

'The most significantly affected property is the residential Dennyshill Care Home; this is a privately-owned business that cares for elderly residents with learning and physical disabilities. These residents have been re-housed locally.

'The care home is assessed to have received the most significant amount of damage and it will likely be weeks before it might be safe or appropriate for residents to return.'

People reported hearing the explosion as many as six miles away after its detonation at about 6.15pm. Sharing a video of the explosion, Exeter University tweeted: 'So here's what all the fuss was about!! 

'Thank you so much to @ExeterCouncil for this amazing clip and of course to @DC_Police @BritishArmy and all the other agencies involved in this huge project to keep us all safe. #exeterbomb.'

One person said on Twitter: 'It shook me over six miles away! Thought another large tree branch had fallen on my house.'

The controlled bomb detonation seen in Exeter, Devon, on February 27 in a still image obtained from a video taken with a drone by Devon and Cornwall police drone team 

The moment the bomb exploded on the building site near Exeter University halls, pictured above. People reported hearing the explosion as many as six miles away after its detonation at about 6.15pm

Smoke rises after the controlled bomb detonation in Exeter. One person said on Twitter: 'It shook me over six miles away! Thought another large tree branch had fallen on my house'

Another said: 'Something I thought I'd never see or hear. A #WW2 #bomb detonating in Glenthorpe Road, #Exeter. I was in #Belvederefields, about 350m and could still see the plume from the explosion. Amazing.'

And another user said: 'Well, that explosion of the #Exeter UXB was loud! Windows still rattling. Hope everyone safe, and the @UniofExeter students & residents evacuated can get home soon.'

Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: 'This is the moment a WW2 bomb was detonated in #Exeter.

'We would like to thank the residents of Exeter, particularly the 2,600 evacuated households and our partner agencies who have worked so hard to ensure the safety of all.'

The device, described as around eight feet long and 27 inches across, was found on a building site on private land to the west of the University of Exeter campus.

The Royal Navy bomb disposal team worked through the night to establish a walled mitigation structure before the examination and detonation of the device was passed to experts at the Army's Royal Logistics Corps.

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