REVEALED: Only an equipment malfunction stopped a NUCLEAR BOMB from going in 1961 North Carolina
Humans have developed the amazing capacity to put themselves in tremendous danger through advancements in technology and weaponry which makes it surprising that we, a people filled with blunders and mistakes, are still alive. This story where a hydrogen bomb set to explode stateside, didn’t detonate, is a sign that more than luck was at play here.
New details have emerged about the near fatal 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash and how close one of the hydrogen bombs came to exploding after it crash landed. The B-52 bomber broke up in the sky over North Carolina during a routine flight just three days after President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration on January 20. According to a newly declassified report published on Monday by the National Security Archive, one of the bombs – which landed in free-fall and without the help of its parachute – was actually in the ‘armed’ setting by the time it hit the ground near Goldsboro.
If the shock of crash-landing had not also damaged the switch contacts, the weapon could have detonated, the report said.
‘The report implied that because Weapon 2 landed in a free-fall, without the parachute operating, the timer did not initiate the bomb’s high voltage battery (‘trajectory arming’), a step in the arming sequence,’ wrote Bill Burr of the National Security Archives.
‘For Weapon 2, the Arm/Safe switch was in the “safe” position, yet it was virtually armed because the impact shock had rotated the indicator drum to the “armed” position. But the shock also damaged the switch contacts, which had to be intact for the weapon to detonate.’
The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash received widespread attention last year, when new details were published in a book, Command And Control: Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Accident, And The Illusion of Safety, by Eric Schlosser. It included maps – engineered by American Institute of Physics historian Andrew Wellerstein – which showed how millions of Americans could have been affected by the massive nuclear blast with the fallout stretching as far as New York City.
The blasts from the Mark 39 bombs – each one 260 times the power of the explosive that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in the Second World War – would have killed thousands around Goldsboro. However, fallout calculations show that radiation could have spread all along the Eastern Seaboard – from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, Philadelphia and even New York City – if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction. The information made available last year also revealed how the safeties on the second bomb, which landed near Farro, failed – all except for one.
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