Created By: MaxWest on December 9, 2013 Last Edited By: MaxWest on July 2, 2014
Troped

Dunking The Bomb

Extinguishing or disposing of a bomb in water

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Bomb Disposal is never easy, even with the right tools and knowledge. However, why not get rid of a bomb by throwing it into water, like a swimming pool or an ocean? Some may figure that bombs make explosions, explosions involve fire, and water puts out fire. Therefore, throwing a bomb into water is the perfect way to extinguish it.

Another reason to try this is that since most electronics don't work underwater, a bomb probably won't either, especially if it has electronic components.

Contrast Sea Mine.

Examples

Anime

Film
  • In Batman Forever, a bomb set up by Two Face at a circus is dropped into the nearby harbor.
  • Subverted in Batman: The Movie. Batman attempts to dispose of a large bomb in the water - only to stop when he sees either boaters or ducks in the water below, leading to his famous line "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb."
  • In The Testament of Doctor Mabuse, the bad guy, in a shining example of Bond Villain Stupidity, locks the good guy and his girlfriend in a room with a bomb set to go off in three hours. The good guy opens up the pipes and deliberately floods the room in an effort to muffle the explosion. They almost drown, but in the end it works.
  • In xXx, we are told that the villain's bioweapon breaks down in deep water. So, in the climatic scene, with the first rocket about to launch and wipe out Prague, Xander takes the rocket, flips it upside down, shouts out a catchprase, and bails out. The upside down rocket pushes the entire sub deep into the river where everything explodes.
  • In Rush Hour, water does seem to dampen or otherwise be a safe place for the bomb. It still seems to explode with enough force to kill the man who went in with it though.
  • This is the method used to dispose of the bomb in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Live Action TV
  • Discussed but averted in 24 season 2. A nuclear bomb with an impossible-to-stop countdown timer is loaded aboard a small aircraft, and they have to decide between disposing of it in the Pacific Ocean or in the Mojave Desert. Ultimately they decide on the desert.
  • In The Blacklist, the FBI was facing a dirty bomb rigged to explode from within a BMW sedan with diplomatic plates on. Special Agent Ressler drives it to the ocean since the local bomb squad doesn't have enough time to evacuate everyone and disarm it.
  • Sledge Hammer!: When a bomb is delivered to Captain Trunk's office, Trunk panics and Hammer desperately tries to smash the window so as to throw it out. Dori Doreau tries to attract their attention, gives up, shrugs, and dunks the fuse in her cup of coffee. Hammer is unaware the emergency is over, and smashes the window anyway.
  • Played With in the TV series Chuck which has the episode Chuck Versus The A Team in which Chuck discovers that dropping a nuke from a submarine into the sea would disarm it, however the trope gets averted by the fact that the nearest body of sea water is miles away and the bomb will explode in just under a minute. What Chuck does instead is spray the bomb with apple juice from a juice box, the logic being that since the juice contains sodium, exposure to it would disarm the bomb, and it works.
  • Get Smart:
    • Max hears ticking coming from the Chief's direction while they are eating lunch, so he grabs the Chief's hand (which was holding a roll), and thrusts into a nearby glass of water. Max pulls the roll apart to discover that there was no bomb, so he's perplexed as to where the ticking was coming from. The Chief points out that it was his watch, which doesn't work anymore.
    • The old Bomb in the BonBon Box trick.
  • MythBusters tested this in episode 81 "Grenades and Guts" by putting a grenade into a bucket of water. The bucket was annihilated in the explosion, but Adam and Jamie differed on the verdict of whether or not it would save one's life.

Tabletop Games
  • The alchemist class from Pathfinder has bombs but the rules state they can't be used underwater.

Video Games
  • In one level of the Edutainment Game Trans Con, you have to dispose of a bomb placed in the train yard by dropping it down a well.
  • The Legend of Zelda, in most games dropping or throwing a bomb in water causes it to fizzle out and vanish without exploding.
  • In Spelunky, there are red frogs that explode shortly after death, but can be turned into normal, non-explosive frogs by dropping them in the water.
  • In Minecraft, a safe way to dispose of creepers is to lure them into water. It won't stop them from exploding and hurting nearby mobs (including players), but solid blocks will be left intact.
  • One of the mini-games in Sonic Shuffle involves teams of two racing to see who can toss their bomb into the lake before it explodes.

Western Animation
  • From Inspector Gadget:
    • In the episode "In Seine", Gadget is given a belt for his trenchcoat with a bomb built into it. Brain the dog pushes Gadget into the water, managing to remove his belt and dunk it into the water.
    • Another episode, "Art Heist", has Gadget get a glowing ball which is activated by Dr. Claw and turns incredibly hot. Brain gets it away from him yet again and throws the hot ball into a fountain. It explodes, sending up a big column of water.
  • Subverted in one Looney Tunes short, "Dough Ray Me-ow", when a parrot dunks a lit dynamite stick in water. He pulls it back out, all limp and soggy, but then the stick quickly straightens itself and the fuse relights.
  • In an episode of DuckTales, Doofus looks up in the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook how to disarm a Martian bomb inside of a rocket. The solution given is to douse it with water. Launchpad decides on Scrooge's pool.
  • Subverted in the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny Meets Farrah Fawcett" where Farrah's bodyguard screens the guests at little Suzy's birthday party. One gift is heard ticking, which causes the bodyguard to cry, "It's a bomb!" and immerse the gift in a bucket of water. The gift is revealed to be a wall clock, ruined by being waterlogged.
  • Subverted in A Matter of Loaf and Death (which is a Shout-Out to the Batman: The Movie example). Gromit tries to throw a bomb into the water, only to see a group of cute little ducks. He ends up smothering it in bread dough instead.

Real Life
  • Both averted AND inverted with Greek fire, a secret weapon of the Byzantine Empire. It was a combustible mixture whose composition has been lost to history. Existing accounts say that it burned on the water and, in some accounts, was actually ignited by contact with water!
  • Inverted with some kinds of metal like lithium, potassium and sodium which will burn in water.
  • Averted with naval mines, which makes sense as they are placed in the water. They don't even need to cause direct damage; the shockwaves and columns of water they create can be enough to damage a ship, sink smaller vessels, and kill sailors.
  • Averted with dynamite fishing. As the name implies, it relies on the explosive working underwater.
  • Tear gas grenades can be suppressed with water. When tear gas was used against protesters in Istanbul, Turkey, some protesters grabbed the canisters and stuffed them into jugs of water.
  • It's not actually a good idea to throw a bomb in water. The water can short-circuit the electronics and cause the device to detonate prematurely. Even if the device has no electronic components, the shock waves from an explosion are more destructive in water because water is denser than air.

Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • December 9, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Discussed but averted in Twenty Four season 2. A nuclear bomb with an impossible-to-stop countdown timer is loaded aboard a small aircraft, and they have to decide between disposing of it in the Pacific Ocean or in the Mojave Desert. Ultimately they decide on the desert.
  • December 9, 2013
    Ominae
    In The Blacklist, the FBI was facing a dirty bomb rigged to explode from within a BMW sedan with diplomatic plates on. Special Agent Ressler drives it to the ocean since the local bomb squad doesn't have enough time to evacuate everyone and disarm it.
  • December 10, 2013
    Arivne
    Italicized work names.
  • December 10, 2013
    AgProv
    Sledge Hammer: when a bomb is delivered to Captain Trunk's office, Trunk panics and Hammer desperately tries to smash the window so as to throw it out. Dori Doreau tries to attract their attention, gives up, shrugs, and dunks the fuse in her cup of coffee. Hammer is unaware the emergency is over, and smashers the window anyway...
  • December 10, 2013
    gallium
    Film

    • In The Testament of Doctor Mabuse, the bad guy, in a shining example of Bond Villain Stupidity, locks the good guy and his girlfriend in a room with a bomb set to go off in three hours. The good guy opens up the pipes and deliberately floods the room in an effort to muffle the explosion. They almost drown, but in the end it works.
  • December 10, 2013
    robbulldog
    Film
    • In XXX, we are told that the villian's bioweapon breaks down in deep water. So, in the climatic scene, with the first rocket about to launch and wipe out Prague, Xander takes the rocket, flips it upside down, shouts out a catchprase, and bails out. The upside down rocket pushes the entire sub deep into the river where everything explodes.
  • December 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced an example.
  • December 10, 2013
    TonyG
    Subverted in one Looney Tunes short, "Dough Ray Me-ow", when a parrot dunks a lit dynamite stick in water. He pulls it back out, all limp and soggy, but then the stick quickly straightens itself and the fuse relights.
  • December 10, 2013
    windower
    Live Action TV: Played with in the TV series Chuck which has the episode Chuck Versus The A Team in which Chuck discovers that dropping a nuke from a submarine into the sea would disarm it, however the trope gets averted by the fact that the nearest body of sea water is miles away and the bomb will explode in just under a minute. What Chuck does instead is spray the bomb with apple juice from a juice box, the logic being that since the juice contains sodium, exposure to it would disarm the bomb, and it works.
  • December 13, 2013
    Tallens
  • December 14, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • In one level of the Edutainment Game Trans Con, you have to dispose of a bomb placed in the train yard by dropping it down a well.
  • December 14, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    • The Legend Of Zelda, in most games dropping or throwing a bomb in water causes it to fizzle out and vanish without exploding.
  • March 4, 2014
    Generality
    ^ This is because it's the model of a Cartoon Bomb with a lit fuse. In some games there are aquatic bombs that behave the same in water as in air.
  • March 5, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Subverted in the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny Meets Farrah Fawcett" where Farrah's bodyguard screens the guests at little Suzy's birthday party. One gift is heard ticking, which causes the bodyguard to cry, "It's a bomb!" and immerse the gift in a bucket of water. The gift is revealed to be a wall clock, ruined by being waterlogged.
  • March 5, 2014
    henke37
    • Spider Man has Dr. Octavius runaway experiment dumped in the river.
  • March 5, 2014
    frosty
    Another reason to try this is that since most electronics don't work underwater, a bomb probably won't either.

    Live-Action TV
    • Get Smart: Max hears ticking coming from the Chief's direction while they are eating lunch, so he grabs the Chief's hand (which was holding a roll), and thrusts into a nearby glass of water. Max pulls the roll apart to discover that there was no bomb, so he's perplexed as to where the ticking was coming from. The Chief points out that it was his watch, which doesn't work anymore.
  • March 5, 2014
    Tallens
    ^^Was the runaway experiment explosive?
  • March 5, 2014
    MaxWest2
    ^^^ Which Spiderman movie was that? I don't remember. We need clarification.
  • In Rush Hour, water does seem to dampen or otherwise be a safe place for the bomb. It still seems to explode with enough force to kill the man who went in with it though.
  • March 5, 2014
    Chabal2
    Real Life aversion: Dynamite fishing. As the name implies, it relies on the explosive working underwater.
  • March 5, 2014
    MaxWest2
    ^ Argh! You beat me to it!
  • March 5, 2014
    KZN02
    About the water shorting out electronics, would that be under No Water Proofing In The Future?
  • Not if it was a device never meant to be near standing water.
  • March 5, 2014
    DAN004
    About Doc Ock's device, that's in Spider Man 2. It's not a bomb nor it is explosive. It fits Kill It With Water instead.
  • March 5, 2014
    FerrousFaucet
    You might put this under Real Life: It's not actually a good idea to throw a bomb in water. The water can short-circuit the electronics and cause the device to detonate prematurely. Even if the device has no electronic components, the shock waves from an explosion are more destructive in water because water is denser than air.
  • March 5, 2014
    StarSword
    Fixed spelling and formatting.
  • March 6, 2014
    aurora369
    Magnesium does not burn, as such, in water: it slowly decomposes it into hydrogen and hydroxyl radicals and dissolves.
  • April 21, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Anime
    • In episode 11 of Lupin III The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Lt. Oscar removes the bomb from underneath the bridge and jumps into the river below. The explosion is muffled and the parade is safe.
  • April 21, 2014
    Diask
    • In Spelunky, there are red frogs that explode shortly after death, but can be turned into normal, non-explosive frogs by dropping them in the water.
    • In Minecraft, a safe way to dispose of creepers is to lure them into water. It won't stop them from exploding and hurting nearby mobs (including players), but solid blocks will be left intact.
  • April 21, 2014
    DAN004
    Contrast Sea Mine.
  • April 21, 2014
    partner555
    This was tested by the Mythbusters with a grenade in a bucket of water, though I can't remember the outcome.
  • April 21, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • One of the mini-games in Sonic Shuffle involves teams of two racing to see who can toss their bomb into the lake before it explodes.
  • April 21, 2014
    Sackett
  • May 29, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump
  • June 5, 2014
    bitemytail
    ^^^^ @Partner555

    It worked. Was used in Real Life as well.
  • June 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • July 2, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Subverted in A Matter Of Loaf And Death (which is a Shout Out to the Batman The Movie example). Gromit tries to throw a bomb into the water, only to see a group of cute little ducks. He ends up smothering it in bread dough instead.
  • July 2, 2014
    f1shst1x
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=76duuy1vgiqviq07nlmpl7g2&trope=DunkingTheBomb