TV cannonball smashes through house

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A BOTCHED experiment for science-testing TV show MythBusters saw an errant cannonball smash 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 San Francisco Bay area neighbourhood, rocketed into the front door of a home and through its master bedroom, before landing in a neighbour’s parked minivan.

Hosts for the Discovery Channel show fired the cannonball on 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. Later, the production team plans to film flying stone cannonballs at a quarry in Northern California.

Instead of hitting a string of water-filled rubbish bins, however, the cannonball passed over the barrels, crashed straight through a protective cinderblock wall and careered off the hill behind it, said Alameda County Sheriff’s Department spokesman JD Nelson.

“It missed the target and took kind of an oddball bounce,” he 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 did not even wake up until the broken plasterboard settled on top of them.

The show’s co-hosts were due to go to the neighbourhood to speak with those affected and a meeting was called with production staff to understand what went wrong.

“We are really, really grateful and glad that no-one was hurt,” co-host and executive producer Adam Savage said.

The producers have used the same location 50 times without incident and a spokesman said proper safety procedures were observed.

Once it was launched, the cannonball travelled about 650 yards, bounced in front of the home, then tore through the front door.