Posted by (+10013) 8 years ago
RT wrote:The US Air Force inadvertently dropped an atomic bomb over North Carolina in 1961. If a simple safety switch had not prevented the explosive from detonating, millions of lives across the northeast would have been at risk, a new document has revealed.
The revelation offers the first conclusive evidence after decades of speculation that the US military narrowly avoided a self-inflicted disaster. The incident is explained in detail in a recently declassified document written by Parker F. Jones, supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories.
Three days after President John F. Kennedy's inauguration, a B-52 bomber carrying two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs departed from Goldsboro, North Carolina on a routine flight along the East Coast. The plane soon went into a tailspin, throwing the bombs from the B-52 into the air within striking distance of multiple major metropolitan centers.
Each of the explosives carried a payload of 4 megatons - roughly the same as four million tons of TNT explosive - which could have triggered a blast 260 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that wiped out Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
One of the bombs performed in the same way as those dropped over Japan less than 20 years before - by opening its parachute and engaging its trigger mechanisms. The only thing that prevented untold thousands, or perhaps millions, from being killed was a simple low voltage switch that failed to flip.