Sunday 4 December 2016

Stunt cannonball smashes bedroom

Published 08/12/2011 | 04:46

A botched experiment on a US TV show led to a cannonball smashing through the wall of a family's bedroom (AP)
A botched experiment on a US TV show led to a cannonball smashing through the wall of a family's bedroom (AP)

Zany experiments testing scientific theories in real-world settings have earned US TV show MythBusters a devoted following, but a botched stunt encountered an unhappy audience when an errant cannonball smashed through a California family's bedroom.

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Sheriff's deputies are still measuring how, exactly, the cannonball flew from a bomb range in the rolling hills flanking a San Francisco Bay area neighbourhood, rocketed into the front door of a home and through its master bedroom, before landing in a neighbour's parked minivan.

Hosts for the Discovery Channel show fired the cannonball on Tuesday as they filmed an episode testing whether other types of projectiles shot from a cannon would pick up the same speed and have the same impact as the steel ball. Later, the production team plans to film flying stone cannonballs at a rock quarry in Northern California.

Instead of hitting a string of water-filled rubbish bins, however, the cannonball passed over the barrels, crashed straight through a protective cinderblock wall and careered off the hill behind it, said Alameda County sheriff's department spokesman JD Nelson.

"It missed the target and took kind of an oddball bounce," he said. "It was almost like skipping a rock on a lake. Instead of burying it into the hill it just went skyward."

No-one was injured, and the home's residents did not even wake up until the broken drywall settled on top of them, Mr Nelson said.

The show's co-hosts were due to go to the neighbourhood to speak with those affected and a meeting was called with production staff to understand what went wrong.

"We are really, really grateful and glad that no-one was hurt," co-host and executive producer Adam Savage said.

"Discovery is committed to making this right and making sure that everything that has been damaged is as good or better as before this started."

Producers have used the cannon they built at the county's bomb range more than 50 times without incident, said Mr Nelson, the police department's liaison to the show.

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