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'Mythbusters' cannonball missed intended target

December 7, 2011 |  4:47 pm

Mythbusters
The cannonball fired by a “MythBusters” crew that smashed into a Northern California house missed a water barricade that was reinforced by a concrete wall.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the Discovery Channel science show launched the cannonball with the cameras rolling, but instead of hitting the wall –- which was further blocked off by a hill -– the cannonball went through a house and struck the roof of another house before smashing through a minivan’s window.

The cannonball was fired from a bomb range at Camp Parks in Dublin, about 35 miles east of San Francisco.

PHOTOS: 'Mythbusters' cannonball experiment goes astray

The science experiment gone wrong started with a theory: Could an object fired from a cannon carry the same speed and impact as a cannonball?

It’s unclear whether the team got their answer, but they discovered that a cannonball has no problem traveling great distances.

When the homemade cannon was lit, the steel ball “hit an odd trajectory off the hill and sent the cannon[ball] skyward,” said Sgt. J.D. Nelson. 

It soared 700 yards into a neighborhood and into the home of a sleeping couple, leaving a 10-inch hole in the bedroom wall.

The cannonball, which was traveling as fast as a bullet, exited the house, bounced across four lanes of traffic, struck the roof of another house and then smashed through the passenger window of a parked minivan.

The network has apparently agreed to pay the property owners for the damage.

"Mythbusters" is comprised of a five-member team -- Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara.  Savage and Hyneman were not present at this experiment. 

The show, which is now in its eighth season, is known for testing theories from the wacky to the entertaining.  Past episodes include whether a banana peel can really cause one to slip and whether it’s possible to cling to the roof of a speeding and swerving car as seen in action movies.

Nelson said he has witnessed more than 50 to 60 experiments at the bomb range, and this is the first time there was a mishap.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department has suspended all activity at the bomb range except for routine operations.

Neighbors told KGO-TV San Francisco that “Mythbusters” often tries its experiments in the area, and they have grown used to hearing explosions.

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-- Angel Jennings

Photo: A Dublin police officer stands near the exit hole Tuesday of a cannonball after it traveled through a house.

Credit: Doug Duran / Associated Press

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