Singapore found itself in a tense circumstance on September 26, 2023, as bomb removal specialists successfully detonated a 100-kilogram World War II-era aerial bomb. The unexploded relic was discovered at a construction site in the city’s northeastern suburb of Bukit Timah.
The controlled detonation of this huge wartime explosive denoted Singapore’s biggest exercise involving a WWII relic, prompting the evacuation of over 4,000 residents from nearby areas.
The story starts with the startling discovery of this unexploded aerial bomb during excavation work at The Myst condominium construction site.
Construction workers stumbled upon the relic, triggering immediate concern among authorities. The bomb, accepted to be one of the biggest wartime explosives found in Singapore, presented a significant safety risk.
Given the potential risk presented by the bomb, Singaporean specialists acted quickly to guarantee the security of its residents. More than 4,000 people living in nearby residences were evacuated from their homes in a meticulously planned operation.
The clearing, which occurred upon the arrival of the explosion, meant to safeguard the existences of those nearby the construction site.
To dispose the unexploded bomb securely, Singapore’s military, explicitly the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, conducted a controlled detonation.
The explosive device was destroyed in two controlled explosions, with the first blast heard at approximately 12:30 pm.
This exceptionally planned exertion required more than 40 SAF work force and expected the establishment of protective measures to contain the impact of the explosion. Before the detonation, military officials set up barricades around the area to limit the blast’s effect.
The bomb, transported on a net from where it was found, was placed within the sandbagged area where charges had been carefully laid. A 200-meter cordon was established around the site, keeping the local population at a safe distance.
Reports proposed that the bomb probably contained around 47 kilograms of explosives, a substantial amount capable of causing significant destruction.
Experts estimated that it had the potential to obliterate an entire apartment block, highlighting the gravity of the situation.
The discovery of this World War II-era bomb served as a stark reminder of Singapore’s wartime history. During The Second World War, Singapore was involved by Japanese forces from 1942 to 1945.
Japanese planes had besieged the city, which was then an British colony, on December 8, 1941, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
The bombings intensified in January 1942 before Japanese troops landed on the island, ultimately capturing it after a week of fierce fighting.
This was not the first time that unexploded wartime relics had been found in Singapore. In April 2021, a construction worker discovered a projectile believed to be a war relic outside a temple construction site.
This discovery prompted the evacuation of more than 100 people from nearby shophouses. Another unexploded device was found at a housing construction site in December 2020, further emphasizing the persistent risk posed by undiscovered wartime munitions.
In the midst of the clearing and controlled explosion, the local area met up to help each other. Nearby specialists and organizations worked in tandem to ensure the safety and well-being of the evacuated residents.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who represents the ward in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC where the bomb was found, personally visited the affected residents and expressed his gratitude for the smooth evacuation process.
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