U.S. Navy: Aircraft abandoned bombs near Great Barrier Reef

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(CNN) — Two U.S. military aircraft jettisoned four bombs not far from the Great Barrier Reef off the Australian coast last week, the U.S. Navy says.

The two Marine planes had to abandon the bombs Tuesday in the national park containing the natural wonder because they were running out of fuel and could not land with the amount of ordnance on board, the Navy said. The two Marine aircraft were launched from a Navy ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard.

Two of the projectiles were explosive bombs that were disarmed before they were dropped. They did not explode, the Navy said.

The other two were inert, or non-explosive bombs, the Navy said.

The pilots chose an area away from the reefs, which contain 400 types of coral. The area was also deep enough to prevent passing ships from running into the bombs, the Navy said.

The reef is home to 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 kinds of mollusks, according to the United Nations’ World Heritage Convention.

It is also a habitat for animals threatened by extinction and is protected as a World Heritage Site.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.