SAN DIEGO (CBS) — The big fireworks show in the Port of San Diego went bust in a spectacular way Wednesday evening when the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air all went off at once.

A massive fusillade of bright rocketry lit up North Island and the downtown area just before 9 p.m.. YouTube video from the scene showed a gigantic 28-second blast, with rockets and bombs bursting in a random pattern. Then, nothing.

“It looked like a planet coming,” one spectator said. A civilian dispatcher at the San Diego Coast Guard station said “it looked like the finale … you know, right at the end they shoot off everything.

“It took 25 minutes to get the word out” that the entire fireworks show had blown at once, said the controller, Rich Dann.

“On the water, there were people on the radio venting,” he said. “A lot of people were unhappy, some had been here all day.”

Reporters at Fox 5 San Diego theorized that the entire battery of explosives was launched at the same time, possibly due to a launch electronic malfunction. But no confirmation was immediately available.

More than 500,000 people were expected to line the bay for the big blast.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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