Special Ops exercise makes big splash in Tampa

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Special Ops exercise makes big splash in Tampa

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A thankful Bob Buckhorn was rescued by Special Operations forces outside the Tampa Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon.

He was captured by "armed terrorists" during a mock demonstration for the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference and Exhibition this week.

The sound of helicopters, gunfire and explosions filled the lunchtime air, as thousands gathered around the river walk to watch it unfold.

Special Forces from 16 nations were represented in the exercise, including Latvia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Sweden, the U.S., and Ireland.

"I may be the Mayor, but I'm very honored to be in their presence," Buckhorn said to the media after it ended. "I'm glad they're on our side."

The crowd cheered wildly as a SEAL team unloaded from two boats, filed onto the river walk, and grabbed Buckhorn – throwing dummy grenades and firing blanks.

"This reinforces to the decision makers in Washington how important this is, how important Tampa is," Buckhorn said.

It's one of the highlights of the weeklong SOFIC convention this week. The exercise is to show what a military rescue invasion would look like.

Click through the gallery to see more scenes from the operation and SOFIC.

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