The Royal Navy has blown up a 2,600lb Second World War bomb after a popular beach had to be evacuated, when a teenage scuba diver stumbled upon the device under a pier.
James Cunningham, 19, discovered the bomb, which had been dropped by the Luftwaffe along the Devon coast, while diving with his uncle on Monday evening.
At first glance, the teenager assumed the huge object was just a container – but a closer inspection led to him to realise that it was in fact far more dangerous.
James Cunningham, above, discovered the bomb, which had been dropped by the Luftwaffe, while diving with his uncle
The device being floated further out to sea, before detonation
Mr Cunningham said he and his uncle then quickly swam to the surface and contacted the authorities.
The Royal Navy bomb squad went to the scene this morning (Tuesday) and the whole of the Teignmouth seafront in Devon was evacuated by police.
A 500-metre cordon has also put in place, and trains suspended as police advised the public to avoid the area.
Police said they are concerned about shattered glass should the device go off and asked local residents to open all windows.
A spokesman for the Devon and Cornwall Police told MailOnline tonight that the estimated weight of the device was ‘1,200kg (2,600lb)’.
The German bomb was taken further out to sea for detonation and all trains were put on hold in the area, between Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbott.
At first it was thought that the device dated back to the First World War, but officials from the Royal Navy today said that ‘Southern Diving United have identified the bomb as a German World War Two airdrop weapon’
The public was asked to give the clearance team space to work on the slip, and the device was attached to an inflatable buoy and towed further from shore, to carry out the controlled detonation, according to Plymouth Live.
The coastguard said: ‘A 1,000m safety zone has been put in place around the device which has been extended a further 500m inland.
‘Devon and Cornwall Police are currently evacuating the area as a safety precaution and the public are being advised to avoid the Grand Pier area.
‘HM Coastguard is issuing safety broadcasts requesting that vessels stay clear of the area.’
After the device was detonated before 5.30pm today, Sergeant Dave Thubron, Devon and Cornwall Police, tweeted ‘Boom!! Well done Royal Navy!!’
James, of Bishopsteington, Devon, said of his discovery: ‘It was about 5pm yesterday when I was scuba diving off the coast of Teignmouth and came across the device.
‘I could see it from quite a distance and it was about the same width as my arm span.
After the device was detonated at about 5.30pm, Sergeant Dave Thubron, Devon and Cornwall Police, tweeted ‘Boom!! Well done Royal Navy!!’
‘At first I thought it possibly looked like some sort of container that was covered in rust.
‘Only by looking a bit closer we then discovered that it was in fact a bomb. We swam away post-haste and went back to shore to contact the police.
‘I had taken a bearing so I was able to go back out with the Navy this morning to show them exactly where it was.
Teignmouth was bombed in the Second World War, when planes used the River Teign for navigation, according to Teign Heritage
‘I scuba dive regularly around the coast of South Devon but have never come across anything like this before.
‘It was quite scary when we discovered what it was but the authorities seem to be dealing with it now.’
A spokesperson for the Royal Navy said: ‘Civilian scuba divers discovered this weapon when they were diving about 100 metres off the beach at Teignmouth.
‘The Southern Diving United have identified the bomb as a German World War Two airdrop weapon.’
Initially it was thought that the bomb dated back to the First World War, after the Maritime and Coastguard Agency tweeted that its officials, along with police and the Royal Navy Explosives Ordnance Disposal team were on the scene at Teignmouth ‘dealing with an exploded WWI device found 1km off shore’.
But that description was later changed.
Teign Heritage tweeted that it was unlikely to date back to the First World War, as ‘Teignmouth was bombed in WW2, when planes used the River Teign for navigation’.