It was an ordinary Thursday night at Darlene’s Tavern in Sudlersville, Md., when a strange object crashed from the sky into the bar parking lot, stirring up pillars of gray smoke.
Shocked patrons soon realized how lucky they were to avoid impact with what was soon identified as a military test bomb.
“It is crazy. I never would have thought this,” said Lena Hartlove, co-owner of the bar. “There was debris all over everybody’s vehicles and everything.”
The bomb, used to train National Guard officers, may have dropped accidentally due to a malfunction, reported CBS Baltimore. According to the news station, military officials admitted the incident could have easily turned deadly.
“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,” said Hartlove.
Said co-owner Darlene Hurley, who called the police after the crash, “We seen the big hole. And it was about two and a half feet deep and about two foot wide … They dug it they came to end of the bomb … the four little prongs.”
"It could have been a whole lot worse, Hurley also said, “It landed about 100 feet from the building … it could have been really, really bad."
Despite extensive damage to the parking lot, the weapon was a dummy, used only for training purposes.
“There was nothing on it that was explosive. It had metal fins. That’s pretty much it,” said Lt. Col. Charles S. Kohler of the Maryland National Guard.
The bomb fell from an A-10 Warthog jet from the 104th Fighter Squadron in the 175th Wing, which was headed back from a practice run. Pilots, who were reportedly highly experienced, flew toward sparsely populated land once they noticed what was likely an electrical failure.
“This was a night-time mission where they were dropping ordnances on a range. And unfortunately, this incident occurred,” said Kohler.