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S.Atlantic : Incident Report: Tay Taylor Tells About the Bomb
Submitted by SARTMA.com (Juanita Brock) 22.10.2003 (Article Archived on 05.11.2003)

On Thursday 16th October 2003 at 1115am, EOD received a report of a suspicious metal object (possibly a bomb) situated 50m to the East of the FIGAS Workshop at Stanley Airport. The item had been uncovered during excavations close to the Stanley Airport complex by Mr Iain Berntsen working for Ian Stewart Construction. The suspicious object was reported to Spr ‘Andy’ Kirkcaldy in the JSEOD Operations Centre situated on Ross Rd, Stanley.

Photos (c) MOD

MAJOR INCIDENT 16th & 17th OCTOBER 2003 – 1000Ib BOMB AT STANLEY AIRPORT

Incident Report: Tay Taylor Tells About the Bomb

The 1,000 Pound Bomb in Situ

On Thursday 16th October 2003 at 1115am, EOD received a report of a suspicious metal object (possibly a bomb) situated 50m to the East of the FIGAS Workshop at Stanley Airport. The item had been uncovered during excavations close to the Stanley Airport complex by Mr Iain Berntsen working for Ian Stewart Construction. The suspicious object was reported to Spr ‘Andy’ Kirkcaldy in the JSEOD Operations Centre situated on Ross Rd, Stanley.

Incident Report: Tay Taylor Tells About the Bomb

Stanley Airport

QMSI Mines, WO2 ‘Tay’ Taylor RE with Spr ‘Jon’ Rouse based in Stanley, were deployed to carry out a reconnaissance of the item and immediately confirmed that a 1000Ib bomb had been uncovered. At 1132am the Royal Falkland Island Police were informed and an initial cordon provided by WPC Caroline Cotter. Soon after, a 1500m cordon was put in place under the direction of the RFIP Inspector ‘Len’ McGill, closing off the whole Peninsula from Boxer Bridge and the Totem pole outside Megabid. A complete evacuation of the area was undertaken and the cordon made secure by 1213pm. All emergency services were informed and placed on standby outside the cordon.

OC JSEOD Flt Lt ‘Nick’ Lynskey BEM RAF and QMSI Mines WO2 ‘Tay’ Taylor RE were conducting ‘casualty extraction from a minefield’ training on the morning of the incident along with Bomb Disposal Officers from the Royal Engineers and Royal Air Force, this proved to be quite useful as this enabled a bi-service RAF and RE team to be immediately established to deal with the incident. A bi-service team offered greater experience and effectiveness for the task. A Joint Service team was established as follows:

Flt Lt ‘Nick’ Lynskey BEM RAF EOD Incident Commander.

WO2 ‘Tay’ Taylor RE Bomb Site Commander

Sgt ‘Dan’ Flood RE Bomb Disposal Officer

Sgt ‘Ian’ Reeve RAF Bomb Disposal Officer

Cpl ‘Joe’ King Incident Control Point Controller

Spr ‘Andy’ Kirkcaldy Operations Room - Coordinator

The RFIP was kept up to date and briefed by WO2 ‘Tay’ Taylor RE, and as a result, an Incident Control Point was set up and maintained. In addition to this, RFIP Superintendent ‘Dave Morris’ set up a Police Major Incident room at the Police Station. FIBS and BFBS radio stations were contacted and requested to broadcast a warning that personnel steer clear of the incident until the area was declared safe.

Once the security of the area was under control, Sgt ‘Dan’ Flood and Sgt ‘Ian’ Reeve set out to identify the fuze type by carrying out further exploitation of the bomb. The bomb was found to have a single fuze located in the base of the bomb. The fuze was identified as a 951 Mk 2 fuze that is designed to function on impact. The condition of the fuze was considered dangerous and unstable. This together with the position of the bomb, sat in an upright position, precluded the remote removal of the fuze from the bomb.

Incident Report: Tay Taylor Tells About the Bomb

Close-up of the Double Baldrick

An alternative Render Safe Procedure was discussed and decided. A ‘Double Baldrick’ attack was the safest alternative. A Baldrick attack allows a metal slug, in this case two, to be fired in to the bomb through its casing that causes a lower velocity explosion to take place and splits open the casing to expose the High Explosive filling of up to 350Kg.

Whilst there was every confidence that this technique would work, there is always a slight chance that the bomb may explode, therefore, a worst-case scenario assessment was carried out in order to minimize possible damage to the airport complex. Subsequently, Commander Stangroom RN from HQ BFFI, Chief Executive and Director of Aviation visited the site to assess the situation. Authorisation for the Low Order Technique to take place was subsequently granted.

Incident Report: Tay Taylor Tells About the Bomb

What was left of the fuse

At this point EOD was ready to carry out further action, but it was important that as much protective work as possible was given to the Airport Complex to prevent any collateral damage in the event of a large explosion taking place.

Mr Ian Stewart and Mr Iain Berntsen of Ian Stewart Construction put a protective mound of earth in place. Utilising Plant machinery on site, the two brave volunteers placed over 400 Tonnes of earth between the bomb and the FIGAS buildings in order to minimize fragmentation or blast damage to the infrastructure.

An 8ft trench was excavated between the buildings and the protective mound, this was carried out to protect the foundations of the FIGAS buildings from distortion or shockwave damage.

Fire Chief ‘Gardner’ Fiddes and the Stanley Fire crew set to work and carried out protective measures to the complex, opening all windows and ensuring curtains and blinds were closed. It was soon to be dark so the decision was made to continue further protective works the next morning.

Incident Report: Tay Taylor Tells About the Bomb

What was left of the tail

During the night the RFIP maintained the cordon and ensured that no one entered the area until the next morning. The second day saw all hazardous materials removed and the fuel feed to the heater system isolated. Windows were taped to prevent flying glass hazards and Stanley Services assisted in the decanting of 5000 litres of fuel from a nearby fuel tank just 100m from the bomb.

All vehicles were removed with the help of the Fire Service and Sgt ‘Jonathon’ Butler of the RFIP. FIGAS staff removed all FIGAS Aircraft to the end of the lazy runway some 1200m away from the bomb down towards the Lady Elizabeth. Finally the electricity supply to the buildings was turned off.

After all protective measures were carried out even to the point of checking the horses down by the Lady Elizabeth and the cordon security being confirmed, OC JSEOD Flt Lt ‘Nick’ Lynskey BEM RAF confirmed that authority was granted to conduct further EOD action with the use of a ‘Double Baldrick’ Low Order Technique. Having prepared charges, JSEOD personnel withdrew to a firing point approximately a 1000m to the East of the bombsite and initiated the charges at 1230pm.

 

Sgt ‘Dan’ Flood having approached the bomb at 1240pm declared that the Low Order Technique was successful. The bomb casing had split wide-open exposing large pieces of RDX explosive fill and leaving the 951 Mk 2 fuze and pocket in an isolated position with easy access. The fuze and pocket was destroyed in situ using a small amount of explosives. Large pieces of explosive fill remained, and was placed in sandbags and secured away from site for disposal on the next demolition range day. The bomb carcass was recovered from site to the JSEOD compound.

Having made the area safe, EOD and the Stanley Fire Service personnel carried out a visual check of all areas to confirm the building structures were safe. Amazingly, there was no damage to the complex at all, not even a scratch of paint. At this point the bombsite was cleared of EOD equipment, reinstated and the cordon collapsed with the area being handed back to FIGAS on 17th October 2003 at 1430pm, declared safe.

The incident was a great success with the whole community being both patient and supportive. The Police and Fire emergency services worked extremely hard along with the FIGAS staff and Stanley Services, everyone helped EOD wherever possible in order to make the community safe as soon as possible. In particular, Mr Ian Stewart and Mr Iain Bernsten are thanked for their hard work with the enormous protective mounds and trenches put in place close to the bomb.

EOD dealt with the situation in the most professional manner that resulted in the bomb being made safe with no injury to personnel or collateral damage to the Airport Complex. Thanks to an extremely professional Joint Service team:

Flt Lt ‘Nick’ Lynskey BEM RAF who commanded the JSEOD team and WO2 ‘Tay’ Taylor RE who initially deployed to the bomb with Spr ‘Jon’ Rouse and controlled the task site thereafter in support of the two duty Bomb Disposal Officers Sgt ‘Dan’ Flood and Sgt ‘Ian’ Reeve who dealt with the bomb. With a good support team: Cpl ‘Joe’ King controlling the Incident Control Point and Spr ‘Andy’ Kirkcaldy who coordinated everything through the EOD Operations Centre who without, such a successful task would not have been possible.

It is the considered opinion of JSEOD that Harrier Aircraft dropped the bomb during the conflict. The Harrier is able to carry up to four 1000Ib bombs that are suspended using a double lug suspension, the bomb dealt with at the Airport had a double lug configuration thus indicating Harrier had dropped it. A Vulcan Bomber carries up to twenty-one bombs but uses a single lug suspension that meant this bomb was not dropped by a Vulcan Bomber.

 

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