Royal Navy Denies It Lost 2000lb WW2 Mine While Trying To Disarm It
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- The Royal Navy has denied claims its divers lost a 2,000lb Second World War mine during an attempt to make it safe.
The device was originally picked up by a dredger eight nautical miles off the coast of Essex.
The plan had been for the divers to take the mine off the boat and put it on to a flotation device to be taken away to a safe distance and detonated, but the mine ended up falling 27 metres to the sea bed and a Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said it had been "mislaid".
She said: "They were lowering it down, the conditions were quite poor and the bomb became mislaid." The spokeswoman later said she believed the mine had been located by the divers.
Stewart Oxley, spokesman for RNLI Walton and Frinton, said: "Whilst it was being manoeuvred the marker buoy has been detached. They are not exactly sure where it is.
"The team have dived down to try to locate it but it's high water at the moment. Visibility is probably two or three feet. They haven't been able to find it."
But later a Royal Navy spokesman denied that the mine had been lost, saying: "Because of the extreme weather off the coast it's looking likely to be (Sunday) to get down and dive on it.
"They know where the mine is. They put it down on the sea bed and they won't lose track of it. It's never been lost. They know where it is. When it's safe to do so they will get down to it and dive on it. They put it on the sea bed safely."
The Royal Navy team will return to the scene with their own boat, when they hope to make physical contact with the mine and detonate it safely.
Mr Oxley said that the mine was believed to be "in very good condition" and "it was still a viable destructive force". A one-mile exclusion zone remains in place around the area.