A 1,000-pound World War II-era bomb was unearthed Tuesday at a regional airport in Florida, prompting evacuations until officials determined the ordnance was inert, authorities said.
Construction workers found what was believed to be a “very old” Mark 65 bomb while working at the future site of the Wilton Simpson Technical College campus in the northeast corner of the Brooksville Tampa Bay Regional Airport, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said.
The bomb was “so rusted and decayed” that there was no immediate way of telling if the ordnance was live or inert, Nienhuis said in a video message posted on Facebook.
The potentially explosive discovery prompted evacuations of about half a mile in all directions and a temporary road closure.
The Citrus County bomb squad responded to the scene and determined the military ordnance was inert, the sheriff’s office said. A team from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa was sent to dispose of the inert bomb.
The Mark 65 is a general-purpose bomb that the military used as far back as World War II to blast reinforced targets like dams and concrete or steel railroad bridges, according to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
“The bomb itself was an unguided gravity bomb,” Dr. Angie Zambek, an associate professor of history at UNC Wilmington, told FOX13 Tampa. “It was essentially just TNT in metal casing.”
The airport where the 1,000-pound bomb was unearthed is the former site of the Brooksville Army Airfield where World War II bombers trained, the station reported.