Reporting Monique Griego
SUDLERSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A freak accident in the skies over Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A military plane drops a “practice” bomb into a Queen Anne’s County parking lot, narrowly missing cars and people.
The National Guard now admits it could have been a disaster.
Monique Griego has the eyewitness accounts.
The practice bomb was part of a training exercise. But when it fell from the sky, patrons had no idea what it was or where it came from.
A run of the mill Thursday night at Darlene’s Tavern in Sudlersville was interrupted by a sudden impact.
“It is crazy. I never would have thought this,” said Lena Hartlove, co-owner.
Just after 9 p.m., surveillance video shows stunned patrons looking on as gray smoke billows from the parking lot.
“There was debris all over everybody’s vehicles and everything,” said Hartlove.
“We seen the big hole. And it was about two and a half feet deep and about two foot wide,” co-owner Darlene Hurley said.
Owner Darlene Hurley called police. Soon, the bomb squad was digging and she couldn’t believe what they found.
“They dug it they came to end of the bomb… the four little prongs,” she said.
That’s right…a bomb. But the Maryland National Guard soon confirmed it was a fake one.
“There was nothing on it that was explosive. It had metal fins. That’s pretty much it,” said Lt. Col. Charles S. Kohler, Maryland National Guard.
The hole the bomb made has already been covered up. But according to military leaders, before it crash landed in the parking lot, it was on a jet on its way back from a training exercise out of Air National Guard base in Middle River.
“This was a night-time mission where they were dropping ordnances on a range. And unfortunately, this incident occurred,” said Kohler.
“I was just thanking God it wasn’t closer to the bar because there were people sitting up at the picnic tables when this happened,” Hartlove said.
But with the danger gone, the bomb is still the buzz around the small town.
“The bomb squad told us we should rename the bar the ‘Bulls-eye.’ It’s just non-stop,” said Hurley.
Military leaders say the pilots involved in the training exercise were extremely experienced. And once they realized there may have been a malfunction, they avoided any densely populated areas.
The National Guard also says it’s still investigating what happened, but a mechanical malfunction may be to blame.