Mythbusters accidentally set cannonball on path of destruction

Experiment at California bomb disposal range goes terribly awry

cannonball

The Mythbusters have some explaining to do, and this time they're more likely to be doing it in courtrooms than on TV.

(Update: Cannon pics here. ... Map here.)

From a San Francisco Chronicle account that I'm excerpting at greater length than usual because it's the only way to do justice to the sequence of events:

One of the zany experiments staged by the "Mythbusters" television show nearly turned into a suburban tragedy Tuesday afternoon in Dublin (Calif.) when the crew fired a homemade cannon toward huge containers of water at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb disposal range.

The cantaloupe-sized cannonball missed the water, tore through a cinder-block wall, skipped off a hillside and flew some 700 yards east, right into the Tassajara Creek neighborhood, where children were returning home from school at 4:15 p.m., authorities said.

There, the 6-inch projectile bounced in front of a home on quiet Cassata Place, ripped through the front door, raced up the stairs and blasted through a bedroom, where a man, woman and child slept through it all - only awakening because of plaster dust.

The ball wasn't done bouncing.

It exited the house, leaving a perfectly round hole in the stucco, crossed six-lane Tassajara Road, took out several tiles from the roof of a home on Bellevue Circle and finally slammed into the Gill family's beige Toyota Sienna minivan in a driveway on Springvale Drive.

This report from an ABC television station has close-ups of the carnage:

Simply amazing ... both that a projectile can travel that far through so many obstacles, and that no one was injured.

(Update: The fact no one was injured allows room for comments such as this one left on the Chronicle story: "Best show ever. If there was some collateral damage so be it. My entertainment is paramount to any other concerns.")

(Update, Dec. 8: Want to see the cannon pics the cast didn't want you to see? They're here.)

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