'Mythbusters' Cannonball Accident Puts the Real Scary in Reality TV

Don't you hate it when you're just chilling on the couch and out of nowhere a six-inch steel projectile traveling at high speed smashes into your head and sends your brains splattering onto all four walls of the room in a festive spray of skull fragments and gore? That's damn near what happened to a couple in Dublin, California last night when a test for the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters series went horribly awry and sent a cannonball through their house.

The cannonball was fired from a sheriff's department bomb range, where it bounced off a safety berm and managed to soar 700 yards into the home of a sleeping couple—crashing through the front door and leaving a 10-inch hole in their bedroom wall.

Wow. Myth that suburbia is unsafe from roving cannonballs: confirmed. House: busted.


While a MythBusters consultant says the series has used the cannon more than 50 times without incident, apparently this shot was the anti-charm. The cannonball was supposed to go through a few water-filled barrels and a concrete wall, but instead went way off course before bouncing around like a deadly pinball. Traveling as fast as a bullet, it plowed through one home (leaving several holes in its wake), exited the house and bounced across four lanes of traffic, then smashed through the window of a parked minivan.

In a nearly unbelievably lucky break, not a single person was hurt during the incident. The timing really was pretty miraculous, because not only did the ball slam through a family's house (even barreling up a set of stairs!) without hitting anyone—the minivan's owner claims he and his children had only gotten out of their vehicle 5 minutes before it was struck.


I know this show is all about scientific investigations, and the more dangerous-sounding, the better, but they sure came scarily close to accidentally killing someone with this particular test. Can you even imagine if someone had been hit, all for the sake of television entertainment? At least the people on Deadliest Ice Road Amazing Races or whatever are signing up for the chance to die while the cameras are rolling.

While you'd think Mythbusters would have some insanely rigorous safety precautions for their experiments, it kind of sounds to me like they need to revisit their policies. From the official statement about the accident:

(...) Sgt. JD Nelson, Public Information Officer and bomb technician for the Alameda County Sheriff’s office, who is a regular safety explosives expert for MythBusters, was on site and all proper safety protocol was observed. Beyond Productions is currently assessing the situation and working with those whose property was affected.

Yeah, um, two things. Clearly the "proper safety protocol" wasn't quite good enough, and hey, how about an apology? I mean, shit happens, we all make mistakes, but shooting a cannonball into a residential neighborhood maybe deserves a mea culpa or two from the network. Juuuuuust saying.

What do you think about this bizarre Mythbusters incident?

Image via Discovery.com

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