Sub finds bombs dropped by US fighter jets during exercise

FOUR unexploded bombs dumped on the Great Barrier Reef by US fighter jets last month were found on Friday.

According to the Australian Department of Defence, its mine-hunting vessel HMAS Gascoyne discovered the bombs and was working to retrieve them in a joint recovery operation with the US Navy off the coast of Shoalwater Bay.

Running low on fuel, US war planes were forced to drop the bombs on July 16, about 16 nautical miles south of Bell Cay in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

With a combined weight of 1.8 metric tonnes, the bombs were dropped during three-week joint US and Australian military exercise Talisman Saber, which brought together 28,000 troops.

The bombs were detected at a depth of 60-70m, using sonar equipment in a remote-control submersible.

Officials say the timing of the recovery operation now depended on the weather.