‘MythBusters’ cannon ball accident caused by ‘unforeseen bounce’

December 8, 2011

The Discovery Channel show “MythBusters” made a serious case for “don’t try this at home” when one of its science experiments involving homemade cannons went awry, crashing through a San Francisco-area home and landing on a minivan during taping on Dec. 6.

No one was injured as a result of the accident, however, the show’s hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, said they planned to meet with the owners of the damaged property, according to the TV Column’s Lisa de Moraes. The show, which recently made the list of top shows enjoyed by conservative Republicans, was filming on a closed set at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office bomb range with a safety expert on site. Writes de Moraes:

Unfortunately, Discovery acknowledged, “during the testing, a cannonball took an unforeseen bounce from a safety berm.”

And by “unforeseen bounce,” Discovery means that the cannonball — which was between softball and cantaloupe in size, according to various reports — missed the water vats and blew through a cinder-block wall late Tuesday afternoon.

Then, according to news reports and statements from the sheriff’s office, the errant cannonball stormed off the set and headed over to a residential neighborhood, bounced off a sidewalk, tore through someone’s front door, zipped up the stairs and through an occupied bedroom, blew out the back of the house, blasted over a six-lane thoroughfare and skimmed the top of another house, before brutally attacking a parked Toyota minivan.

So cannonballs can bounce. Another myth busted!

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department spokesman J.D. Nelson said the cannon built for the experiment was used more than 50 times without incident, according to the Associated Press:

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

Hosts for the Discovery Channel show fired the cannonball 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.

See how “MythBusters” stacks up among conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, according to a study by the media-research company Experian Simmons:

PHOTOS: The top 25 favorite shows of self-identified “liberal Democrats” and “conservative Republicans,” according to Experian Simmons for Entertainment Weekly.

More on “MythBusters”:

Cannonball misfires for ‘MythBusters’

TV Column: Discovery’s ‘Mythbusters’ accidentally shoots cannon into neighborhood

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