Essex

Weather delays detonation of mine found off Essex coast

Royal Navy divers on board lifeboat
Image caption Royal Navy divers are waiting for conditions to improve before retuning to the scene

Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have postponed attempts to detonate a mine dredged up off the Essex coast.

They are waiting for weather conditions to improve before returning to where the mine lies, eight miles off Clacton.

The 2,000lb (900kg) World War II German parachute mine was found on Friday by the dredger Congo River.

A spokesman for Thames Coastguard at Walton-on-the-Naze said he understood the Navy team had abandoned efforts to detonate the mine on Sunday.

He said he expected them to attempt to go back out to the scene at about 0800 BST on Monday.

But with weather conditions not expected to improve, he said it was possible they would not be able to return until Tuesday.

Earlier a Royal Navy spokesman had said: "We're trying to find a safe weather window to return.

"At the moment the winds and the tides are too strong. We know where the device is and it doesn't pose a danger to anybody."

A one-mile (1.5km) exclusion zone has been imposed around the mine.

'Destructive force'

The mine was due to be detonated on Saturday but became detached from its markers in 90ft (27m) of water.

The Royal Navy spokesman said it was being tracked using GPS technology.

It is understood to have fallen to the sea bed as it was being lowered from the dredger to a flotation device.

With weather and visibility worsening on Saturday, the RNLI's Walton and Frinton lifeboat brought the Navy team back to shore.

Stewart Oxley, a spokesman for RNLI Walton and Frinton, said the mine was "in remarkably good condition" and that it was still "a viable destructive force".

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