In Training Snafu, US Jets 'Bomb' Great Barrier Reef

Jets were forced to jettison 4 bombs
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2013 7:24 AM CDT
In this Sept. 2001 file photo, an aerial view shows Australia's Great Barrier Reef, where US fighters jettisoned four bombs last week in a training emergency.   (AP Photo/Queensland Tourism, File)

(Newser) – US fighter jets running low on fuel dropped four bombs on Australia's Great Barrier Reef last week, reports the BBC, in a training mission gone wrong. The AV-8B Harriers were supposed to drop the bombs—two of which were disabled, while two were inert—on a bombing range on a nearby island, but were forced to abort the mission and ditch payload in order to safely return to the USS Bonhomme Richard, adds CNN. The 500-lb. bombs landed in some 165 feet of water, away from the fragile coral and out of the way of passing ships. The exercise was a joint operation between American and Australian armed forces. (Read more Great Barrier Reef stories.)

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