The US Accidentally Dropped A Nuclear Weapon On South Carolina And Then 3 Years Later Accidentally Dropped Two More On North Carolina

March 11, 1958
South Carolina
Air Force B-47 Stratojet
Carrying one 26-kiloton Mark 6 Nuclear Bomb
(More powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.)

While flying over South Carolina the cockpit suddenly showed a fault light indicating a problem with the locking pin on the bomb harnesses in the cargo bay. While investigating the error, the navigator accidentally pulled the bomb’s emergency release pin. The bomb dropped to the floor ripped open the bomb bay doors, and fell 15,000 feet landing in rural South Carolina.


Fortunately, the bomb’s fission core was stored in a separate part of the plane, but it was still loaded with almost 8,000 pounds of traditional explosives. The explosion leveled a nearby home, injured civilians, flattened part of a forest, and created a mushroom cloud that could be seen for miles.


The crater still exists just off of South Carolina Highway 76, marked by a historical plaque.

Where this gets stranger still:

January 24, 1961
North Carolina
B-52 Stratofortress Bomber
Carrying Two 3–4-megaton Mark 39 hydrogen Bombs
(Each more than 250 times more powerful than what was dropped on Hiroshima)

The bomber broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process. The pilot in command ordered the crew to eject at 9,000 feet (2,700 m).


The bombs separated from the aircraft as it broke up between 1,000 and 2,000 feet (300 and 610 m).


The first bomb was found intact and standing upright as a result of its parachute being caught in a tree.

The second bomb plunged into a muddy field at around 700 miles per hour (310 m/s) and disintegrated without detonation.

Categories: Hidden HistoryTags:


  1. Wow! I bet this isn’t well-known history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why isn’t this discussed more often. I had no idea.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is a test… this is ONLY a test

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m from NC. We weren’t taught any of this.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I had never heard of that before. I’m glad the bombs dropped on North Carolina didn’t explode.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Retired B-52 bombardier here. Bombers no longer (and have not since the 60s) fly with nucs on board, partly because of these accidents. Transport planes are used for the purpose of moving them and the weapons are made safe.
    Crews are not permitted to enter the bomb bays during flight (they are not cargo bays) with anything in there, even inert concrete shapes.
    To my knowledge, there has never been an accidental nuclear detonation in the USA. Cannot say as much for other countries. We no longer have ground-based or in-flight nuclear alert (ground alert ended with Bush 41, airborne alert before my time).

    Liked by 1 person

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