Air Force Accidentally Bombs Florida in Botched Training Exercise — but the Explosives Were Inactive
Authorities are searching for the dummy bombs and urged the public not to touch the devices if found
The Air Force is investigating after a trio of training bombs were dropped on Florida on Monday — but no need to worry. The bombs were inactive.
The incident occurred during a “routing training mission” around 1:15 p.m. when an A-10C Thunderbolt II fighter jet out of Georgia’s Moody Air Force Base hit a bird and the collision sent three BDU-33 dummy bombs out near a highway, the 23rd Wing Public Affairs Office announced.
“If the training munition is found, do not approach it, take note of the location, leave the area and keep others away,” authorities said in a statement.
Officials with the 23rd Wing did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
No injuries or damages were reported in the incident and authorities said they were searching for the bombs, described as “25-pound training munition used to simulate the M1a-82 500-pound bomb.”
The BDU-33 dummy bombs are blue and about 22 and a half inches long. The bombs are inactive but contain a pyrotechnic charge that “should not be handled.”
“There is a safety investigation that is ongoing to see what caused it,” an air base spokesperson tells PEOPLE. “We’re also trying to look into any lessons that we can learn from it and mitigate the situation to prevent it from happening in the future.”
The spokesperson says the investigation’s results will be released after it is finished.
Authorities suspect the bombs fell 54 miles southwest of the air base and two kilometers west of Highway 129 near Suwannee Springs.
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The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office told local news station WCTV that they hadn’t received any reports of the bombs being found.
Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman said he was concerned about the potential risks the lost bombs could pose.
“Everything around here depends on the water. We drink our of the groundwater, but we use the rivers all the time for recreation, swimming, fishing, boating. In particular the Florida counties in the Suwannee River Basin, it’s the main stay of the economies,” Quarterman said.
“What else is in it, what are the pyrotechnics, what kind of environment damage could it cause?” he said. “We don’t really know. We’d like to know.”