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Navy: We'll recover bombs dropped near Great Barrier Reef

Jul. 25, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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About 10 days after dropping four bombs into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off Australia’s northeast coast, the Navy is planning to get them out.

Seventh Fleet “will take the lead in the safe retrieval and disposal” of the bombs jettisoned July 16 by two U.S. AV-8B Harrier jets into the World Heritage, according to a July 26 news release.

Navy officials will work with Australian military and marine park officials in the removal, the release says. Detailed plans for recovering the bombs were not announced.

The Harriers, launched from the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, jettisoned the ordnance near the reef because the target area at the Townshend Island bombing range “was not clear of hazards,” according to an earlier Navy release.

The bombs did not hit a live coral reef, the earlier release said. They landed deep enough that they will not endanger local vessels, and it’s “virtually impossible” for the two bombs that contained explosives to go off.

The training surrounding the incident was a “precursor activity” to, not a part of, the ongoing Talisman Saber exercise, the Navy said.

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