US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina – secret document

US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina – secret document

Exclusive: Journalist uses Freedom of Information Act to disclose 1961 accident in which one switch averted catastrophe. A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.

The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961.

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