U.S. authorities to declassify information about the fall of the strategic bomber B-52 Stratofortress with 2 hydrogen bombs Mk.39 (W39) on board in North Carolina in 1961, reports The Guardian. As a result, the disaster in which three people were killed, almost one of the bombs exploded, the power of which was four megatons. Report on the results of the investigation catastrophe was prepared in 1969, but has been kept secret.
B-52 makes flying January 23, 1961 as part of Operation Coverall to simulate over-alert strategic divisions of the country. When the lumen of the city of Goldsboro, North Carolina bomber had to make a refueling stop in the air, but when approaching a tanker aircraft commander found a fuel leak from the fuel tank on the right wing. Refueling procedure was interrupted.
Ground control center gave the B-52 crash team to head to the coast and stay in the air right up to the complete exhaustion of fuel supplies. But soon after which the aircraft commander said that the loss of fuel for three minutes amounted to 17 tons; The B-52 was ordered to go to an aerodrome near Goldsboro. By lowering the bomber began to crumble; crew, not counting 2 persons (died from falling debris B-52), ejected. One of the pilots ejected died on landing.
During the fall bomber at an altitude of between 3-tyschami and 610 meters from it dropped bombs, one of which landed on the tripped parachute. According to declassified report, precipitated bombs were equipped with 4 protection systems. At W39, landed by parachute, three systems were denied; continued to work only a low voltage switch. According to the military, and if he refused, bombing would be inevitable. In this case, the accumulation of radioactive covered would be a huge part of the U.S. East Coast, including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New-york.
Second bomb actually quite destroyed in a collision with the ground. When prospecting were discovered only a few details, including plutonium and tritium reservoir charge of the first stage. In the search for archaeological site was flooded by groundwater and subsequent searches residues bombs ended. Later, the Corps of Engineers U.S. bought land on which are the remains of W39.