Essex

Royal Navy tracking WWII mine off Essex coast

Royal Navy divers are tracking a live World War II mine which has been dredged up off the Essex coast.

The 2,000lb (900kg) live German parachute mine was dredged up from the sea bed eight miles off Clacton by the vessel Congo River on Friday morning.

It was due to be detonated at 1100 BST on Saturday but became detached from its markers in 90ft (27m) of water.

The Royal Navy said the mine had come adrift from its markers but was being tracked and monitored.

'No threat'

The Navy had earlier said it was using sonar to locate the mine but murky conditions were hampering its efforts.

With poor weather conditions and a fast-running tide, the RNLI's Walton and Frinton lifeboat brought the Navy divers back to shore.

The team is heading back to Portsmouth and operations are set to resume at about 0700 BST on Sunday.

A Navy spokesman said: "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."

Stewart Oxley, spokesman for RNLI Walton and Frinton, said the mine had been sucked inside the dredger and had to be freed from it before the Navy could begin trying to detonate it.

He added: "There is no threat to the public on land. I imagine it will be left until the weather improves. It's in remarkably good condition.

"Part of the detonator was exposed which allowed them to access it and hook on it, so it seems to be quite a stable device but obviously they want to take away any risk by carrying out a controlled explosion."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites