Milecastle 37, nr. Housesteads Roman Fort, Hadrian's Wall.
Title: Montparnasse train incident. The drive of Granville to Paris hoping to make up time for 131 passengers, increased the speed and the air brakes failed. Train smashed through the buffers, careered across the station concourse, broke the station wall. It remained as is for four days, 1895.[1563x2048]
The 1961 Goldsboro Nuclear B-52 Crash
On the midnight of January 23-24, 1961 a B-52 Stratofortress took off from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. The bomber's mission was to conduct a regular air patrol over Arctic airspace just in case the Cold War should suddenly become very hot. Shortly after takeoff, the bomber's pilot, Major Walter Scott Tulloch, noticed a fuel leak coming from the right wing. Suddenly, the plane lost 37,000 pounds of fuel as the leak worsened. Major Tulloch decided to cancel the mission and return to base, but suddenly the right began to rapidly disintegrate. Before the B-52 could land safely, the crew lost control of the plane, and the B-52 began to spiral to the Earth at 9,000 feet.
The crew abandoned the plane, with five bailing out or ejecting, one being killed after bailing out, and two dying in the subsequent crash. While the loss of life is certainly a tragedy, what makes the 1961 Goldsboro crash an especially noteworthy incident was the payload that the B-52 was carrying at the time; two Mark 39 nuclear bombs. The Mark 39 was a nuclear fusion hydrogen bomb with a yield of 3.8 megatons, roughly 200 - 300 times the power of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The two bombs were accidentally jettisoned before the crash, resulting in one plummeting to the ground and embedding itself deep within the muck of a muddy North Carolina field. The second's parachute deployed, resulting in a somewhat gentle return to earth. Both bombs were recovered safely. However, analysis of the bombs determined that before being ejected from plane, the bomb whose parachute had activated had actually completed it's arming sequence. It's theorized that the centrifugal forces of the spiraling plane had pulled a lanyard in the cockpit which was used to arm the bomb. The only reason the bomb did not detonate was due to a single safety switch not being activated, which would have armed the conventional explosives on the bomb. So in other words, the nuclear components of the bomb were activated, had the conventional explosives detonated, well... then ... this would have happened ...
Fortunately for the good people of Goldsboro, North Carolina, that did not happen. The US Government and Air Force downplayed the incident, claiming that there was absolutely no chance of an accidental detonation occurring. It wasn't until 2013 that the true extent of the accident was revealed after an investigative journalist named Eric Schlosser was able to obtain declassified documents through the Freedom of Information Act.