The United States government nearly blew up Goldsboro, North Carolina with a hydrogen bomb during a botched B-52 bomber flight in 1961.
According to newly declassified documents two hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro on January 23, 1961 when the B-52 bomber carrying them broke up in mid-air.
One of the atomic bombs actually began to detonate — a single switch was all that prevented the bomb from destroying the city. The bomb had three other safety mechanisms but they all failed as the bomb fell to the ground.
While the US government has admitted to the near catastrophe in the past, the 1969 document is the first evidence to show just how close a catastrophe was averted.
In the unearthed file US government scientist Parker F. Jones writes: “It would have been bad news in spades.”
The atomic bomb that fell over Goldsboro, North Carolina, was 260 times more powerful than the bomb that landed on Hiroshima in 1945.
US investigative journalist Eric Schlosser obtained the flights information under the freedom of information act. Schlosser writes:
“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’s one that very nearly did.”
In his report Parker F. Jones made reference to Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb by giving his report the title Goldsboro Revisited, or: How I Learned To Mistrust the H-Bomb.
The bomb may not have been detonated but the report shows just how closely the US government almost came to killing countless numbers of US citizens.