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‘MythBusters’ Stars Apologize For Dublin Cannonball Mishap

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A cannonball from a "Mythbusters" experiment went through this home on Cassata Place in Dublin on December 6, 2011. (CBS)

A cannonball from a “Mythbusters” experiment went through this home on Cassata Place in Dublin on December 6, 2011. (CBS)

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DUBLIN (CBS SF) — The stars of the Discovery Channel television show “MythBusters” – Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman – visited Dublin Wednesday to apologize to people who live in a neighborhood where homes and a car were damaged when a cannonball experiment went awry Tuesday.

A crew was filming the show at the Alameda County bomb range at about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and were conducting an experiment using a cannon they had built about two years ago and have used at least three times before, sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

The 30-pound projectile was intended to pass through several barrels of water, which would slow the cannonball, before passing through a cinder block wall and striking the bomb range’s hills, Nelson said.

But it missed the water, broke through the wall, and careened off the hill into a Dublin neighborhood where it damaged two homes and a parked car, Nelson said.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Savage and Hyneman first met with the people who live at 4051 Cassata Place before visiting the homes of other impacted residents.

About 20 people who live in the neighborhood came by the house while Savage and Hyneman were there. They briefly signed autographs and posed for pictures.

After the meeting, Savage apologized for the mishap.

“We’re deeply sorry, and this is the worst thing that’s ever happened,” Savage said. “We want to make everything right and fix this house so that it’s as good as or better than it was before.”

Hyneman added that the seriousness of the error was a first for the show, which is based out of San Francisco and often conducts its experiments on Alameda Island and at the bomb range under the supervision of the sheriff’s office.

In its eight-year history, “MythBusters” has developed some 200 hours of television programming.

“We’ve had small mistakes before, but nothing like this,” he said.

According to Savage, the show’s producers placed several barriers to try to prevent the cannonball from entering residential areas but that the cannonball apparently misfired and missed its target.

He said it appears that the cannon was fired at a slightly higher angle than originally planned. The accident is still under investigation.

Savage said the purpose of the experiment was to see if a stone cannon could breach a castle wall and that the show was comparing a stone cannon to a modern steel cannon.

The cannon that misfired was a steel cannon, he said.

“What cannons can do is shocking,” Savage said. “They have a lot of power, and the power got away from us.”

When reporters asked Savage and Hyneman if this episode would air, Savage said the show’s producers have not yet made that decision.

“My assumption is that it absolutely will not be shown,” Savage said.

To safeguard against future potential mishaps, filming at that location has temporarily been suspended during a review of policy.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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