27 Jul 2013

US military to retrieve reef bombs

9:00 am on 27 July 2013

The US military is to retrieve four bombs it dropped on the Great Barrier Reef during a training exercise last week.

US warplanes were forced to drop the bombs after they ran low on fuel last Tuesday, because civilian vessels were in the drop zone.

Instead, they were dropped inside the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef marine park in about 50 - 60 metres of water.

The US Seventh Fleet said it will take the lead in the safe retrieval and disposal of the bombs.

AAP reports two of the bombs did not contain explosives and the other two were without their fusing mechanisms.

The US military will work with the Australian Defence Force and the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority on the retrievals.

An investigation is under way to determine why civilian boats were in the planned drop zone.