Skip to comments.Declassified report: Two nuclear bombs nearly wiped out North Carolina
Posted on 06/12/2014 8:19:31 AM PDT by TangledUpInBlue
On a January night in 1961, a U.S. Air Force bomber broke in half while flying over North Carolina. From the belly of the B-52 fell two bombs -- two nuclear bombs that hit the ground near the city of Goldsboro.
A disaster worse than the devastation wrought in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have befallen the United States that night. But it didn't, thanks to a series of fortunate missteps.
Declassified documents that the National Security Archive released this week offered new details about the incident. The blaring headline read: "Multi-Megaton Bomb Was Virtually 'Armed' When It Crashed to Earth."
Or, as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it in back then, "By the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted."
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
I knew about this years ago and read about it in books. I am pretty sure this was the incident...
Little bit of hyperbole there, I don't think that bomb was going to go off if two random wires crossed when it hit the ground.
Good grief, it isn't like the movies where they say "DON'T CUT THE RED WIRE!"
When the United States still nominally put God first. The only thing the article didn’t say was that it was a miracle, which it was.
Haven’t read the book, but at first thought, it doesn’t make sense. Why would a b-52, flying over the eastern US, have two nukes in a state that could even remotely possibly make them go off. They can be completely “safed”..in that even a devastating impact..which breaks the bomb open...would cause local area contamination..but there is no chance of an explosion..
I love nukes and eat up a I can about the nuke testing era. I had never heard of this particle incident either. The article is sensational though, because it sounds like the safety systems worked as designed. They got banged around a hell of a lot and didn’t detonate. That’s what was supposed to happen.
“Is it the red wire, or the blue wire; I forget!”
There’s another one still lost in the mud off the coast of Savannah.
I would think that the way those bombs were constructed, it would have been a miracle if they HAD gone off.
That isn’t to say at all that there couldn’t have been a dirty, radioactive accident.
But I doubt they would have gone off in a crash.
Lets see. James Bond was on scene to cut the wires just as the timer hit 007! USA shaken but not stirred.
There is a history of the SAC called 15 minutes. It details this and many others. One is in the ocean off the coast of Georgia. A B-50 lost two engines in a storm over the Saint Lawrence seaway in the early 1950’s. It jettisoned a nuke that detonated.
They are specifically designed not to detonate in a crash. The article says that for whatever reason the bombs were armed.
Who knows why they were armed flying over the continental US.
The USS Cowpens didn’t pass an inspection and the CO and Command Master Chief got fired. You out a CIA Chief of Station and life goes on - nobody fired.
You arm two thermonuclear devices over the continental US and then DROP THEM and its not clear to me what happened to the pilots, or their CO’s.
You’re thinking of one of those Lethal Weapon movies.
Of course this would never happen under Clinton or Obama.
Under Clinton, they sold all of our weapons to the Chinese and under Obama the Rules of Engagement wouldn’t allow any American forces to have sharp objects.
I believe Ahmed or Mohammed would say something like that during Explosives 101 =)
There is a book recently out called Command and Control that covers this and many other incidents.
I suspect this is newsy only because of association with the book. The author has been making the talkshow rounds.
Choose your words carefully. The detonation was low order conventional explosives not a nuclear explosion.
Some DUmmy probably has read your response and already has a new conspiracy theory to be paranoid about now.
They were flying airborne alert.
Airborne alert required we kept nuclear armed bombers airborne at all times. . .ensured we could respond instantly if attacked and there was a very slim chance the Soviets would be able to take out flying platforms.
They carried ‘live’ nukes, not training ordnance, but these nukes were not armed. . .arming would only take place during final run to the target
“The detonation was low order conventional explosives not a nuclear explosion.”
You are correct. The conventional explosive was part of the inner components of the nuke and went off low order, out of sequence, and therefore no risk of a nuclear detonation.
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