Gdynia cleared as huge WWII parachute bomb weighing ONE TONNE is detonated 3km out to sea

The bomb used during the siege of Westerplatte was detonated as police kept curious passersby away from Gdynia’s centre. Pomorski Urząd Wojewódzki/PAP/Public domain

The centre of Gdynia was evacuated today when explosive experts moved in to detonate a one tonne WWII bomb lying off the coast.

The operation which had been planned since earlier this year saw the huge bomb transported from where it had lain for over 80 years, three kilometers further out to sea before it could be exploded safely by the 8th Coast Defence Flotilla.

The bomb, indicated by the red dot off the coast of Gdynia, had to be moved 3km out to sea before it could be detonated.Pomorski Urząd Wojewódzki

The mine was discovered in March this year when employees of the Maritime Office in Gdynia carried out hydrographic measurements of the area around the Port of Gdynia. 

The non-contact German parachute bomb measured approximately 180 cm long with a diameter of 66 cm, the weight is estimated to be close to one tonne with an explosive strength of 1,000 TNT.

The Navy designated safety and danger zones with two key zones enforced by the police and the military.Pomorski Urząd Wojewódzki

The operation began at around 8 am local time and took around 6 hours to complete.

The Navy designated safety and danger zones with two key zones enforced by the police and the military.

The one-tonne bomb was detonated after a six hour operation to safely move it away from the coast.Adam Warżawa/PAP

The first danger zone covered the entire length of the sea shore from north of Gdynia in Rewa down to Westerplatte in Gdańsk, it was forbidden to swim in the sea, be on a boat and even on the beach or coastline.

The second zone, or the fragmentation zone, in the event of an uncontrolled mine explosion included the downtown area including Plażę Śródmieście and Basen Żeglarski, as well as the Maritime University and the Gdynia Aquarium. There was also a ban on people moving around in the open. 

The bomb is likely to have been part of the German luftmine bomb series which were air dropped and included parachutes in their payload to prevent detonation upon impact. 

After the parachute opened, the mine would descend at around 64 km/h. If it hit the ground a clockwork mechanism would detonate the mine 25 seconds after impact. 

Police kept curious passersby away from the centre in case they were caught by blast waves.Adam Warżawa/PAP

But if the mine landed in water it would sink to the bottom. 

Similar devices have been found around European coastlines since the war ended and despite their age they remain active and potentially highly dangerous.