A nuclear bomb was almost detonated over North Carolina by the US military. Surprisingly, the military still doesn’t know where the core is. The terrifying story has emerged from Cold War history wherein US airmen almost detonated a nuclear bomb over the state of North Carolina.
The weapon was lethal and extremely powerful that if it had detonated, it would have caused two hundred and fifty times the explosive energy as the devastating weapon that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima during the Second World War.
The U.S. Military refers to major incidents involving nuclear weapons as broken arrows. It is estimated that there have been at least thirty-two broken arrows since 1950 but the North Carolina is perhaps the most terrifying.
One of the US crew of eight servicemen were flying armed with nuclear weapons in 1961 over Goldsboro in North Carolina. At the time, these patrols were performed as a matter of routine owing to the impasse with Russia during the Cold War. If there was a sneak Russian missile attack these teams were supposed to retaliate immediately.
However, this routine flight went wrong when the plane endured a mysterious fuel leak and the plane spun out of control. Three of the crew members died in the crash and the two nuclear weapons were thrown from the plane into farmland below.
The plane crashed nose-first into a tobacco field a few paces away from Big Daddy Road just outside of Goldsboro, N.C, about 60 miles east of Raleigh. One of the investigators at the scene located one of the bombs.
The bomb’s parachute had deployed and the bomb had floated into the branches of a nearby tree. However, it quickly became apparent that the other bomb’s parachute had not deployed and it had shattered upon impact. It took a dedicated team more than a week of investigating to find the component parts of the bomb.
The weapons components were taken for analysis when engineers made a blood chilling discovery that the bomb had almost detonated. In order to detonate a nuclear bomb effectively, seven steps must be taken.
The official reports said that six out of these seven steps had been accidentally been fulfilled by the impact. Robert McNamara who was the Secretary of Defence at the time wrote in an internal memo that it was only by the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted.
If that was not the case then North Carolina, Washington, Philadelphia and New York City would have all be impacted by the fallout and millions of lives could have been put at risk. Maybe even more disturbingly, investigators at the crash site could not locate the nuclear core of the bomb.