SAN FRANCISCO – Zany experiments testing scientific theories in real-world settings have earned the TV show “MythBusters” a devoted following, but a stunt gone awry met with an unhappy audience when an errant cannonball went shooting through a California family’s bedroom.
Sheriff’s deputies are still measuring how, exactly, the cannonball flew from a bomb range in the rolling hills flanking a suburban San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and rocketed into the front door of a home and through its master bedroom before landing in a neighbor’s parked minivan.
Hosts for the Discovery Channel show fired the cannonball Tuesday as they filmed an episode testing whether other types of projectiles shot from a cannon would pick up the same speed and have the same impact as the steel ball.
Instead of hitting a string of water-filled garbage cans, however, the cannonball passed over the barrels, crashed straight through a protective cinder-block wall and careened off the hill behind it, said Alameda County Sheriff’s Department spokesman J.D. Nelson.
“It missed the target and took kind of an oddball bounce,” Nelson said. “It was almost like skipping a rock on a lake. Instead of burying it into the hill it just went skyward.”
No one was injured, and the home’s residents didn’t even wake up until the broken drywall settled on top of them, Nelson said.
A meeting was called with the show’s entire production staff to understand what went wrong.
Producers have used the cannon they built at the county’s bomb range, which is tucked in a valley in the suburb of Dublin, more than 50 times without incident, said Nelson, the department’s liaison to the show.