Tall Ship Battle Reenacter Injured In Live Ammunition Cannon Mishap

A pair of tall ships staged a historic battle off the coast of Dana Point Saturday night that resulted in the injury of two reenacters when one of the ship’s cannons was accidentally loaded with live ammunition.

The Ocean Institute, which has hosted the annual tall ships festival in Dana Point Harbor for 28 years, played host to a slightly more “authentic” tall ship battle reenactment over the weekend, when a cannon aboard the ship Amazing Grace was loaded with live ammunition, and fired on the opposing ship, the Bill of Rights, reports the LA Times. The mock cannon fight, which is meant to simulate the spectacle of a historic battle on the high seas, injured two people aboard the ship on Saturday night when Amazing Grace apparently ran out of blanks (which they’re supposed to fire) and a deckhand loaded a cannon with live buckshot by mistake, according to Newser.

“It was like a scene from The Exorcist,” said Amazing Grace passenger Donna Reed of being hit in the leg with buckshot. “I started to bleed in several different areas.”

Boxes of live ammunition and boxes of blanks apparently look quite similar, according to authorities, leading to the mix-up. Five shotgun pellets are now embedded in Reed’s lower body, as doctors advised simply leaving the buckshot since it was too deep to retrieve. “It was painful,” said 32-year-old Reed, “but I was walking afterward.” Another passenger was hit in the arm and the leg, but the injuries sustained were considered minor.

Reed batted off any potential beef between herself and the crew of the Amazing Grace, saying that she’s a tough girl. “I work on a ship, for crying out loud,” she said, adding that she doesn’t bear any personal grudges. “They’re really nice people,” she said. “They never would have wanted to harm anyone.”

All of this begs the question: Why was there live ammunition on board the tall ship in the first place? Thankfully, no one was seriously wounded.