'MythBusters' cannonball rips through house, van

AP Photo/Bay Area News Group

A stunt for the TV show “MythBusters” sent an errant cannonball through a California family's house and into a parked minivan a few hundred feet away.

Producers for the Discovery Channel show fired the cannonball Tuesday at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb range behind the Santa Rita Jail when it misfired.

Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson told the Contra Costa Times that no one was injured and the home's residents didn't even wake up until the dust was settled — literally on top of them.

Nelson, who is also a consultant for the show, said producers have used the cannon that they built at the range more than 50 times without incident.

The cannonball was supposed to go through a few water-filled barrels and a concrete wall. Instead, it passed over the barrels, through the wall, and then took a “very unfortunate bounce that sent the ball skyward,” Nelson said.

About 700 feet away, it bounced in front of the Dublin home, then tore through the front door and out a wall on the back of the house. The projectile then bounced at least once more and crossed the road before smashing the window and dashboard of the minivan, where it came to rest.

“We had some tremendous bad luck and some tremendous good luck” in that no one was hurt, Nelson said.

Jasbir Gill, who owns the minivan, said he and his children had just gotten home.

“It's scary,” Gill said. “I was in the van five minutes before this happened.”

Nelson said he did not know the exact size, speed or weight of the cannonball.

The show, according to the Discovery Channel website, mixes “scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity to create (its) own signature style of explosive experimentation.”

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