Two US fighter jets dropped four training bombs on Australia's World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after a training exercise went wrong, the US Navy said in a statement released late Saturday. The US 7th Fleet "has ruled out any risk to the public or environment."
The AV-8B Harrier jets took off from the aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard and each released an inert bomb and an unarmed explosive bomb off the coast of Queensland.
Each Harrier jet dropped two 227-kilo bombs: one BDU 45 and one High Explosive GBU 12. None of the bombs exploded as the BDU 45s are inert and the GBU 12s were unarmed when released.
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters told the Australian Broadcasting Company that she was outraged and that this not the way to treat the World Heritage area.
"I think it's outrageous that we're letting the US military drop bombs on the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef," she said. "I mean have we gone completely mad? Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?"
The two AV-8B Harrier planes had intended to drop the bombs on a range on a nearby island but were unsuccessful despite several attempts.