Hydrogen Bomb dropped on North Carolina by Accident
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) , – The United States Air Force has accidentally dropped a live hydrogen bomb over North Carolina. Three out of four safety switches failed, only the last and fourth switch prevented the loss of millions of lives in the southern state. The information became public after a document, written by the former supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories, Parker F. Jones, was declassified and released in a Freedom of Information Act Request.
The document reveals the first conclusive evidence that the US Air Force inadvertently has dropped a life hydrogen bomb over the USA and only narrowly escaped a disaster that could have cost millions of lives.
The handwritten document offers conclusive evidence for the incident, ending decades of speculations, rumors and cover-ups.
Written in 1969 and titled “How I learned to Mistrust the H-bomb” the document was disclosed to the British newspaper The Guardian by journalist Eric Schlosser. The incident happened, only three days after the inauguration of the late U.S. President, John F. Kennedy.
A B-52 bomber was carrying two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs at its departure from Goldsboro in the southern U.S. state of North Carolina. The plane was on a routine flight along the East Coast of the USA when it went into a tailspin, throwing the bombs from the B-52 into the air, within “striking distance” of several large metropolitan centers.
Each of the bombs carried a nuclear payload of 4 megatons, equivalent to four million tons of TNT. For comparison of the potential devastation that could have been unleashed, the blast would have been 260 times more powerful than the bomb that incinerated and obliterated the city of Hiroshima at the end of the second world war.
As the bomb that devastated Hiroshima, this bomb performed by opening its parachute and by engaging the bombs trigger mechanisms, putting the lives of millions of US citizens at risk.
The “hot” MK39 Mod 2 hydrogen bomb descended onto the city of Faro, North Carolina, landing in a tree. The second bomb landed near Big Daddy´s Road in the city of Pikeville.
Parker F. Jones, the author of the declassified document and former supervisor at the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandina National Laboratories, stated that three out of the bomb´s four switches, which were designed to prevent an unintended detonation of the MK 39 Mod 2 failed. When the final firing signal was triggered, it was only the fourth and last safeguard that worked. The four switches were simple low-voltage switches. The fact that three out of four failed, and that only the final, inexpensive low-voltage switch that worked, stood between the catastrophe and safety may raise eyebrows and questions about nuclear safety today.
In his assessment of the incident, Jones wrote that the bomb did not have an adequate safety feature for airborne use and that the fallout could have risked millions of lives in Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City and the areas in between, writing:
“The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52. … one simple, dynamo-technology, low-voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe. .. It would have been bad news – in spades”.
Schlosser had dug -up the document through a Freedom of Information Act Request. The declassification and the release of the document under the Freedom of Information Act ends decades of official denial and cover-up of the incident. Schlosser told British newspaper The Guardian, that:
“The US government has consistently tried to withhold information from the American people in order to prevent questions being asked about our nuclear weapons policy. … We were told there was no possibility of these weapons accidentally detonating, yet here is one that nearly did“.
Schlosser provides more details on the incident in his book about the arms race between the USA and the USSR. The book is published under the title “Command and Control”. Schlosser states that he has discovered at least 700 accidents, involving nuclear weapons between 1950 and 1968 which he describes as significant.