The noise was part of a military training exercise organized by the U.S. Special Operations Command to create life-like scenarios at the Grand Bay Hotel, according to Maj. Michael Burns.
“It was quite a shocking experience,” said resident Jane Muir, who also saw flares and smoke bombs. “It was kind of that bizarre feeling that you were surrounded by wind.”
Burns said the exercise was part of a “realistic urban training” for 100 members of the military.
“They have to train in a realistic environment,” Burns was quoted as saying. “We didn’t use any real bullets.”
But the helicopters and explosions, which caused many residents to call police and City Hall, upset Muir.
“I thought it was kind of rude, to tell you the truth,” she was quoted as saying. “One neighbor was swearing, he was so annoyed.”
Police assisted in controlling the exercise and closed roads around the hotel.
“It seems very high drama, but to us it’s kind of simple,” Burns was quoted as saying.