1.24.2011

Tuesday, January 24, 1961: Nuclear accident in North Carolina


Carrying two nuclear bombs, an Air Force B-52 explodes in midair and crashes near Goldsboro, North Carolina. Three crew members die in the explosion/crash; five survive. One of the bombs parachutes safely to the ground (photo at left); the other breaks apart on impact. Nearby areas are excavated, but some parts of the second bomb are never recovered, having sunk deep in the swampy fields. To this day there are conflicting accounts (official and unofficial) as to how close the second bomb came to detonating.

* Summary from The North Carolina Collection (UNC Chapel Hill): @
* Summary from sonicbomb.com: @
* "Broken Arrow: Goldsboro, North Carolina" (website devoted to incident): @
* "US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina -- secret document" (The Guardian, 2013): @
* "Broken Arrow -- The Declassified History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents" (James C. Oskins, Michael H. Maggelet, 2008): @
* "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety" (Eric Schlosser, 2013): @
* "The Story Behind the Pentagon's Broken Arrows" (Mother Jones magazine, April 1981): @
* "Major U.S. nuclear weapons-related accidents: A chronology of publicly reported events (1950-2009)" (from the book "The Technology Trap," Lloyd J. Dumas, 2010)" @
* "Missing H-Bomb is Buried in North Carolina Swamp!" (Weekly World News, May 20, 1997): @

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