Wars come and go, but bombs stay for years. Recently, a 1000 pound World War II bomb was found sown into the ground and unexploded in Hong Kong. The wartime American bomb was removed from the ground by police and explosive disposal technicians, successfully and without exploding on Thursday.
A wartime bomb was found shoved deep into the ground in a harbour front construction site in Wan Chai, Hong Kong – a second American bomb found in the region in a week, which was dropped during World War II. The bomb which weighed 1000 pounds or 450 kg must have failed to explode when dropped and was buried into the ground over years. To defuse the bomb, special squad of 15 officers from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD) worked through the night in association with the local police and after carrying out mass public evacuation of over 4000 people from the Wan Chai region’s Victoria Harbour.
Wearing protective gear including suits weighing 30kg and 11kg helmets, the EOD officers worked for 24 hours on Wednesday to defuse the unexploded wartime bomb. To defuse the bombs, officers drilled holes in the metal casing, removed the explosives and burned them using a special igniter that capped the temperature at below 280 degrees Celsius. The risk involved in this bomb defusing operation were that either the team successfully completed the mission or totally fail with a fatal wartime bomb explosion. But with precision and focused team work, the team managed to unearth and defuse the massive wartime bomb, successfully and without an explosion – making it the second such operation in 50 hours.
The particular bomb defused in Wan Chai was a U.S.-made AN-M65 that must have been dropped on Hong Kong as the part of allied bombing against Imperial Japanese troops, which had occupied the region during that time. It is believed that still there are unimaginable numbers of wartime bombs and explosives buried into the salted grounds, untold and unexplored since the Civil War. They represent perhaps the most dangerous and enduring connective tissue between history and the present. The threat here is that chemical bombs become unstable over time and become more sensitive – which means, they might just volatilely explode even if struck by, say a piece of construction equipment, risking lives of millions even after all these years. Because as they say, the last person to die in the Civil War has not been born yet.