It finally happened. A Mythbusters experiment went awry at the Alameda County bomb range yesterday. Despite the usual number of safety measures you might expect from a reality TV crew with high insurance premiums, a "misfired" cannonball missed its intended target and ended up smashing through a home several blocks away in Dublin, punching holes through the front door, a wall and a minivan window on it's cartoonish path of destruction.
Discovery Channel geeks will recognize the Alameda County bomb range as a common site for the reality show crew's frequently explosive experiments. Mythbusters safety consultant J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's department was on hand to supervise, but as he told KTVU yesterday the "cannonball was supposed to pass through several barrels of water and a cinder block wall to slow its inertia." When the cannon went off, it misfired and changed the trajectory causing the cannonball to hit something that sent it sailing over a hillside that protects the bomb range from the surrounding neighborhood.
From there, the cannonball was on warpath that sounds like it's own myth in the making:
The projectile bounced in front of the house on Cassata Place, through the front door and up through the second floor before it finally exited through the back wall.
Then it flew over Tassajara Road and ricocheted off the roof of another house before smashing through the window of a minivan where it came to rest.
No one was injured in the bouncing cannonball incident, but the owner of the now-totaled minivan explained, "I kind of looked inside and seen a big old cannonball. And I had just got out of the van five minutes earlier."
The Mythbusters, for their part, sent one of the show's senior producers to smooth things out with the car owner and the folks who suddenly found a few new windows in their homes yesterday afternoon. As Nelson explained, the show has so far managed to avoid such mishaps in the past and anyway, "they have insurance for these kinds of things." We also assume there's plenty of video evidence.
While we're at it, here's b-roll explosion footage from a recent episode, also shot at the Alameda County bomb range:
Update: Around 6 p.m. tonight, Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman (the beret-wearing one) issued a statement of sorts by way of a tweet. Hyneman and co-host Adam Savage dropped by the neighborhood in Dublin this afternoon to apologize for the cannonball mishap.