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Australian Current Affairs

US drops bombs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef during exercises

One of the American fighter jets that dropped bombs on the reef

One of the American fighter jets that dropped bombs on the reef

Authorities are yet to decide whether they will recover four unarmed bombs dropped onto the Great Barrier Reef during military exercises.

Two of the bombs did not contain explosives and the other two were without their fusing mechanisms.

US warplanes were forced to drop the bombs after they ran dangerously low on fuel during a problem-plagued training exercise in central Queensland last week.

The planes were unable to drop the ordnance where they had intended because civilian vessels had wandered into the pre-approved drop zone.

Instead they were let go in about 50 to 60 metres of water inside the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef marine park.

United States 7th Fleet spokesman Lieutenant David Levy says the Australian and US governments are still determining whether recovery is possible.

“If the (Great Barrier Reef Marine) Park Authority and government agencies of Australia determine they want them recovered, then we will coordinate with them on that recovery process,” he said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

In answer to a query about whether one of the two bombs containing explosives could go off, Lt Levy said: “Talking with explosive ordnance experts, it is virtually impossible for it to explode.”

He was unable to say why civilian boats were in the drop zone, given it was standard procedure to warn the public about exclusion sites.

“Safety to life is our most important priority, therefore range authorities decided not to drop the bombs.”

An investigation into the incident is underway, including whether any negligence was involved.

The bombs were dropped during a training activity prior to Exercise Talisman Sabre, a joint war games involving US and Australian troops.

Source: 9 News National – Bombs dropped on reef could remain

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner. Business and Education Consultant. Former Business/ESL Teacher. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications.


One thought on “US drops bombs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef during exercises

  1. Australia is right to be angry. Imagine the reaction of the U.S. if during a joint training operation in the American hemisphere, Australia jets had to drop bombs on the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park. I’m reminded of the 7 P’s “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”. To date, I’ve heard of no manager of this operation [Admiral/General] being called to account for this failure in planning.

    Posted by --Rick | July 25, 2013, 01:39

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