Bomb scare at flood defences

A corroded hulk of metal uncovered during preparation work for flood defences on the River Avon sparked a bomb scare this week.

Pill is a short way down river of the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge

Pill is a short way down river of the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge

There were fears that the object found buried in the river bank at Pill could be an unexploded bomb from the Second World War.

Bristol was heavily bombed during the blitz - the Luftwaffe dropped over 15,000 bombs on the city during a single night raid, after which German propaganda claimed the city had been razed.

Pill itself is in a medium risk area for World War 2 ordnance and several bomb craters are present in the adjacent field.

The Environment Agency called in a company specialising in clearing unexploded bombs, Bactec, which carried out an excavation revealing the objects to be a collection of scrap metal from a large cylindrical object, possibly a boat.

All of the objects have now been removed from the site and the whole area backfilled with soil. A further scan has been taken to make sure the area is completely clear. This will now enable the main flood defence works to commence.

"It was always possible that the object could turn out to be a harmless piece of metal that has been washed inland from the Bristol Channel, but we had to be cautious and ensure the safety of both workers and people living in the area," said the Environment Agency's Philip Barlow.

Sam Bond


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