'Mythbusters' cannonball busts through house

In an experiment gone awry, a cannonball aimed at water containers on a bomb disposal range misses its target and rips through a suburban house, before coming to rest in a minivan.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

I wonder which member of the "Mythbusters" production team was told to go to a nice suburban California house and ask: "Can we have our cannonball back, please?"

You see, it seems as if there was a slight miscalculation on the part of the science-meets-stunts show when it fired a cannonball on a bomb disposal range in Dublin, Calif., yesterday.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the projectile was supposed to hit some rather large trash cans filled with water before piercing a wall.

Strangely, it missed the trash cans, tore through a cinder-block wall, bounced its merry way down a hillside, barreled 700 yards through a suburban California neighborhood, smashed through the front door of a house, bounced up the stairs of the house and, without knocking, penetrated a bedroom door where a man, woman, and child were sleeping.

They were only woken after the cannonball had passed through. There was a little rubble and dust.

Watch this: 'Mythbusters' misfires cannonball into neighborhood

Was it done? Of course not. The cannonball then bounced its way out through the wall of the house, crossed a road, smashed a few tiles that were carelessly lying around on the roof of another house and finally took a seat inside the Gill family's Toyota Sienna, which they had thoughtlessly parked in the driveway of their home.

A spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department--which is responsible for the bomb range--gave the Chronicle three apposite words for the incident: "Crazy, crazy, crazy."

Well, it was traveling at 1,000 feet per second.

No one was injured in the making of this disaster. However, presenters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have agreed to shave off all of their facial hair as a gesture of shame. No, I have no confirmation of that. I merely think it's the least they can do. Currently, though, they don't seem to be commenting.

Jasbir Gill, whose minivan was the cannonball's final resting place, offered this to the Contra Costa Times: "It's scary. I was in the van five minutes before this happened."

Who would now be the "Mythbusters" insurance company? The cannonball and the range had reportedly been used many times before for such experiments. This was the third time the cannon had been fired that day. There is talk of the cannonball enjoying an "unfortunate" bounce.

Yet how little fortune it must have been for the poor family whose house was penetrated by this uninvited bouncing guest.

The scientific myth that was apparently being tested here was whether other materials could be fired out of a cannon. I wonder what the results of the experiment might be. And what they might cost.

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