Aerial of the Great Barrier Reef.
Aerial of the Great Barrier Reef. C Veron

US Navy set to recover bombs from Great Barrier Reef

The US Navy is planning to recover four unarmed bombs it dropped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and said the chance of them exploding was extremely remote.

The four bombs - two inert and two high explosive but unarmed - were dropped from a pair of US Harrier jets last Tuesday.

The jets were supposed to have dropped the bombs on a range at Townshend Island, north of Rockhampton, but were told the range was not clear. After several failed attempts, the aircraft were running low on fuel and had to drop the bombs at sea.

They are lying under 60 metres of water, about 100 kilometres offshore and about 16 nautical miles south of Bell Cay in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

News Ltd reports Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chief executive Russell Reichelt on Monday said he was not concerned the 3m long, 226kg bombs would explode but he wanted them removed from the World Heritage area.

"I'm waiting for the US Navy to tell us what their plan is to shift them,'' Dr Reichelt said.

"Our preference is for the material to come up. They might represent a hazard long term and I think it's prudent to deal with this straight away."

Dr Reichelt said a Maritime Safety warning would be distributed to mariners to avoid the area.

 US Seventh Fleet public affairs said the US Navy and Marine Corps were working closely with Australian authorities to investigate the incident.

"The selected emergency jettison area was in a deep channel away from the reef to minimise the possibility of reef damage," the statement said.

"We are coordinating with Australian officials to ensure an appropriate navigation notice is issued until charts can be updated showing the location of the unexploded ordnance." 

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said it would work with the defence force to locate the bombs and ensure they were recovered.

Read more at the Brisbane Times.
 



Looking back at the first Tweed Banana Festival

Looking back at the first Tweed Banana Festival

Tweed Daily News is celebrating its 130th anniversary

Should the Tweed have daylight savings?

Should the Tweed have daylight savings?

Let us know in our poll.

Rugby league identity to be remembered

Rugby league identity to be remembered

Code community comes together to remember Ray Cross

Local Partners