Lost bombs found in Barrier Reef

AFP-JIJI

The Australian Navy said Friday it has found four bombs dropped by U.S. forces on the Great Barrier Reef during a training exercise last month, adding that retrieval plans are being made.

The minesweeper HMAS Gascoyne found the ordnance, which was jettisoned by two U.S. AV-8B Harrier jets during bilateral war games with Australian forces in July.

The jets had intended to drop the two BDU 45s and two GBU 12s on an island in the Shoalwater Bay military training area, but had to drop them in waters within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after civilian boats strayed into the drop zone.

Two of the bombs were inert and the others were dropped in a disarmed state about 30 km from the nearest reef.

They were found at a depth of 60 to 70 meters using a remote-controlled submersible equipped with sonar.