The incident occurred on Tuesday, July 16, during a joint training exercise with the Australian military. The disarmed projectiles were released far away from the reefs, and they were also dropped deep enough to avoid collision with passing ships.
The ordnance consisted of two disarmed bombs, which did not explode, and two inert (non-explosive) bombs.
Problems arose when circumstances altered a planned drop on the
The AV-8B Harrier planes launched from a Navy ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard.
For their part, representatives of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park have responded to inquiries on their Facebook page, stating, “Please be assured the ordnance was unarmed (and two were full of concrete), so there's no risk of them exploding. Thankfully, the drop also occurred about 30 kilometers from the nearest reef. The immediate impact on the marine environment is thought to be negligible.”
The U.S. Navy is reportedly planning to retrieve the bombs.
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