There's nothing quite as terrifying as the thought of an airplane swooping over the horizon, dropping a suspicious bomb-looking object that begins to plummet towards us all at an alarming speed.

Well, this was the alarming reality for the residents of Florida when a US Air Force plane accidentally dropped some (thankfully) dummy bombs.

Read on to find out what on Earth happened to cause this mistake, and what the residents of Florida managed to avoid by the skin of their teeth...

 

The United States Air Force has been around since 1907.

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It became a separate military service on 18th September 1947, with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947, which later created the United States Department of Defence.

The United States Department of Defence is composed of four branches.

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This includes the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and the newly created Air Force.

Since the Air Force became independent in 1947, its core missions have evolved over the years.

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They are now articulated as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

What exactly is "global strike?"

Global strike is the ability to hold at risk, or strike rapidly and persistently, with a wide range of munitions, and to create swift, divisive, and precise effects across multiple domains.

The US Air Force is no stranger to strategic bombing.

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The Air Force has used strategic bombing many times over the years - bombs are often employed in order to defeat the enemy by destroying its morale and economic ability to produce and transport material to the theatres of military operations. Or, in simpler terms, to destroy the enemy completely to give them no choice but to surrender.

When it comes to dropping bombs...

A lot of training must occur when it comes to handling such pieces of weaponry. The US Air Force regularly carries out training runs in the sky in order for pilots and members of the Air Force to prepare for a real-life event. And, of course, dummy bombs are used in these training runs.

Moody Air Force Base in Georgia carried out a training run on Monday.

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This week, a US Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II from Georgia was undergoing a training run; its flight path went over Florida.

One of the Air Force's most fearsome jets...

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The A-10C Thunderbolt II is a fearsome, low-altitude jet capable of pin-point destruction and is used regularly for the release of powerful weapons.

The jet was just over the border of Florida...

When a bird-strike was suffered. As the name explains, a bird-strike is an event in which one or numerous birds collide with an aircraft during flight. This can cause multiple engine failures and damage to the exterior of the aircraft, which can risk the lives of the people on board.

Bird-strikes are a growing hazard for aircraft operators and pilots.

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According to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), there have been 142,000 wildlife strikes - ninety-seven percent of which involved birds - with aircraft in the US between 1990 and 2013. Twenty-five people have been killed as a result of a bird-strike, and a further 279 have been injured.

Bird-strikes also cost a lot of money...

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Further statistics have shown that mid-air bird-strikes have cost, in total, more than $790 million.

Captain Sully made history when he encountered a bird-strike...

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Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger encountered a bird-strike in his US Airways Airbus A320 in 2009, after he had just departed from New York's LaGuardia airport. The talented pilot managed to glide his aircraft onto the River Hudson in an emergency landing after losing both engines almost immediately after the strike; he saved every life on board the aircraft.

But not all bird-strikes end well...

via: The Guardian

Bird-strikes have been blamed in the past for causing aircraft crashes, which is ultimately fatal for everyone on board. In March this year, the deadly crash of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max, which killed 157 people, has recently been blamed on a bird-strike that could have impaired the sensor equipment on the aircraft. So clearly, bird-strikes are (potentially) extremely dangerous.

Upon the bird-strike, the A-10c Thunderbolt II aircraft accidentally released its training bombs...

via: Business Insider

This particular bird-strike caused an inadvertent release of 3 "BDU-33s" - twenty-five-pound non-explosive training munitions that are used to simulate the 500-pound M1a-82 bombs that would have been used in a real-life situation.

The drop happened around fifty-four miles south of the Florida border.

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The US Air Force has estimated that all three of the dummy bombs landed close to the Suwannee Springs area.

Although no injuries or damage has come from this accidental release...

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The Air Force has urged people to not approach the bombs if they encounter one as they could be potentially dangerous if mishandled.

While the weapons are inert...

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The bombs contain a small pyrotechnic charge that could be dangerous if mishandled, despite their little ability to have any form of chemical reaction.

A pyrotechnic charge has the capability of being catastrophic.

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Pyrotechnics is the science and craft of using self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions to make heat, gas, light, smoke, and sound. Pyrotechnics were involved in the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in WWII for the Manhattan Project that resulted in the instant deaths of around 80,000 people.

The US Air Force is still searching for the stray bombs.

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Of course, the dummy bombs will not be detonating themselves any time soon, and a reenactment of Hiroshima will not be happening. But taking precautions in the event of coming across one of the bombs is vital, and it is best to contact the authorities and leave the disposal of these bombs to the professionals.

So attention, residents of Florida!

If you happen to stumble upon one of these BDU-33 bombs in your back yard, do not try to approach it and do not try to handle the situation alone. Contact the local authorities, and the US Air Force will handle it from there.