British police say the hotly contested annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race is likely to proceed as planned despite the discovery of what police suspect is an unexploded World War II-era bomb near the start of the race on the River Thames. The suspected bomb was discovered by a member of the public near Putney Bridge in southwest London, just yards from the starting line of the famous race that pits rowers from Cambridge University against those from Oxford University. Police say the ordinance was found submerged on the Chelsea shoreline Saturday, reports the AP. A bomb removal unit was waiting for low tide to get a better handle on the situation, notes the BBC.
"Our specialist experts are dealing with the suspected (World War II) ordnance," Chief Inspector Tracy Stephenson said. "We have been working very closely with the organizers of the boat race to plan this event, which is eagerly awaited by spectators and supporters alike." Up to 300,000 people are expected to watch the men's race, which begins at 5:35pm. The women's race is set to begin an hour earlier. London was heavily bombed in the war, particularly during the Blitz years in 1940 and 1941, as German planes concentrated on civilian and industrial targets. Unexploded devices are still occasionally uncovered. (More unexploded ordnance stories.)