I'm sure we've all heard of the Great Barrier Reef, that unique phenomenon of our planet that falls in Australia's stewardship. And I'm sure we're all aware that the US Navy conducts exercises with the Australian navy in Australian waters.
Well, now it seems that naval exercises and the Great Barrier Reef have intersected:
To be fair, they tried to keep damage to a minimum:
To be more fair, it wasn't a planned part of the exercises:The two AV-8B Harrier jets, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard, each jettisoned an inert practice bomb and an unarmed laser-guided explosive bomb into the World Heritage-listed marine park off the coast of Queensland state on Tuesday, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement on Saturday. The four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), were dropped into more than 50 meters (164ft) of water, away from coral, to minimize possible damage to the reef, the statement said. None exploded.
The jets, from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, had intended to drop the ordnances on the Townshend Island bombing range, but aborted the mission when controllers reported the area was not clear of hazards. The pilots conducted the emergency jettison because they were low on fuel and could not land with their bomb load, the Navy said.
I just have a few questions:
Don't they think about the possibilities of such things ahead of time?
Don't they check an area for hazards before they launch the fighters?
Is there a way to go retrieve the things?