When I, as exchange student, was living in Virginia, not far from North Carolina, back in the 1980s, some people claimed, to my dismay, that they felt safer with nuclear silos nearby than if these would not exist. However they were oblivious to top secret incidents like this one, which could have easily vaporized them two and a half decades earlier.
The Guardian reports today that newly unclassified files show that the USA almost detonated a hydrogen bomb above Goldsboro (Central North Carolina) on January 23rd 1961. The bomb ha almost 300 times the destructive power of those thrown on Japan in 1945.
The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage.
Out of four safety mechanisms intended to prevent accidental detonation, three failed and only one, maybe the most fragile one, actually prevented the lives of millions being annihilated overnight. This vital information has been withhold from the knowledge of US citizens and the World for half a century. Who knows what else is still hidden in the secret archives?