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October 24, 2014

'MythBusters' Apologize for Cannonball Accident

by Catherine Lawson, posted Dec 8th 2011 5:45AM
'Mythbusters' cannonball accidentYesterday came news that the 'MythBusters' team had accidentally fired a 30-lbs cannonball through a house. Although on the face of it, it seemed like a pretty funny story, more details have since emerged that show how lucky local residents were to escape injury.

According to 'The San Francisco Chronicle,'
the cannonball travelled straight through the Shetty family's house, exiting through the exterior wall of the master bedroom as mom Seema was napping in the room with her two year-old son. After traveling a total of 3,300 feet, the cannonball eventually came to rest in Satwinder Gill's minivan. She told ABC-7 News that "my husband and son were in the car five minutes before it happened."

'MythBusters' hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage -- who were not present when the accident happened -- travelled to Dublin, California to meet with the families affected by the accident and to apologize. Savage told 'The San Francisco Chronicle,' "It's a wake-up call. Honestly, the feeling of embarrassment is not something we're indulging in right now. We feel for the families and the people affected by this."

Cannonball damage to Shetty family homeHe added, "Some people watch our show and think that we're reckless. Others watch our show and they see we take safety seriously. The fact is, the latter is the case."

Savage later tweeted: "Now it's back to SF, to meet and discuss how to keep this from ever happening again. Very intense. We're SUPER relieved no one was hurt."

The cannonball shot through the residential neighborhood when a 'Mythbusters' team including co-hosts Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara were testing to see if a cannonball fired from a stone cannon would be capable of breaching a castle wall.

They were conducting the experiment on the firing range at the Alameda County Sheriff's Regional Training Center, a venue they have used many times before without mishap.

Hyneman told 'The San Francisco Chronicle' that, as the cannonball was fired, the cannon suffered from "muzzle lift," which sent the projectile arcing across Dublin. It bounced on the Shettys' driveway and passed through their house before crossing a six-lane road. It then bounced off the roof of a second home before smashing into Mrs. Gill's minivan.

Meanwhile, angry homeowner Hitha Shetty told the 'Chronicle' that residents should have been told the experiment was being staged nearby. He also hinted that he may sue: "The kids are usually playing there," he said. "I want to make sure this doesn't happen again. And, of course, they need to pay for this. Not just the physical damage, but everything else."

Speaking on behalf of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, Sgt. J.D. Nelson told ABC-7 News: "[It's] Very unfortunate that it happened, very fortunate that no one got hurt." He added, "The range is shut down as of now, except for emergency detonations, until we can review all the policies and practices up there."

Follow Catherine: @TVClaw.

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