WASHINGTON (TIP): In 1961, the US escaped a disaster worse than the devastation wrought in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when a B-52 air force bomber broke in half mid-air and two nuclear bombs hit the ground in North Carolina, declassified documents show. On January 24, 1961, a US 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. But thanks to a series of fortunate missteps, the US averted a major disaster.
Declassified documents that the National Security Archive released this week offered new details about the incident, the CNN reported. The blaring headline read: “Multi- Megaton Bomb Was Virtually ‘Armed’ When It Crashed to Earth.” Or, as secretary of defence 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.” The MK39 bombs weighed 10,000 pounds and their explosive yield was 3.8 megatons compared to the bombs US dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which were 0.01 and 0.02 megatons respectively.