Iwakuni squadron drops bomb by accident during Australia exercise
August 15, 2005
A fighter jet attached to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, dropped a bomb near a tower at an ordnance range in remote Australia, a base official confirmed Saturday.
The plane was from Fixed Wing Fighter Attack Squadron 212. “It was 212, and they are participating in Southern Frontier Exercise, which is wrapping up next week. There were no serious injuries and the incident is under investigation,” said Maj. Stewart Upton, base spokesman.
Australia’s Defense Department stated that the 500-pound laser-guided bomb was dropped by an F/A-18 Hornet, exploding near the control tower and damaging facilities at Delamere Air Weapons Range, the Associated Press reported.
Lt. Col. Jeff Blau, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Forces Pacific in Hawaii, said the bomb also ignited a gas cylinder nearby, causing one minor injury, the report stated. Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill said the mishap is under investigation by both Australian and American authorities. Upton said bombing exercises have resumed at the weapons range some 80 miles south of the town of Katherine. Southern Frontier is an exercise involving 500 troops, 15 F/A-18 Hornets and two KC-130 Hercules aircraft.