Monday, June 22, 2009

Wait a minute! That's not a shrimp!


Can't they find it by the glowing crabs? (my bold)
More than 50 years after a 7,600lb (3,500kg) nuclear bomb was dropped in US waters following a mid-air military collision, the question of whether the missing weapon still poses a threat remains.


Shortly after midnight on 5 February 1958, Howard Richardson was on a top-secret training flight for the US Strategic Air Command.

It was the height of the Cold War and the young Major Richardson's mission was to practise long-distance flights in his B-47 bomber in case he was ordered to fly from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida to any one of the targets the US had identified in Russia.


As he cruised at 38,000 feet over North Carolina and Georgia, his plane was hit by another military aircraft, gouging a huge hole in the wing and knocking an engine almost off its mountings, leaving it hanging at a perilous angle.


As he dropped to 20,000 feet, he somehow got the damaged craft under control and levelled out.

He and his co-pilot then made a fateful decision which probably saved both their lives and the lives of countless people on the ground.


He managed to direct the B-47 a mile or two off the coast of Savannah and opened the bomb doors, dropping the bomb somewhere into the shallow waters and light sand near Tybee Island.

He then managed a perfectly executed descent from which he and his crew walked away unscathed.


Immediately after the crash, a search was set up to find the unexploded nuclear weapon, buried somewhere too close for comfort to the US's second-largest seaport and one of its most beautiful cities.

Numerous other searches have followed, both official and unofficial, and each of them has also proved unsuccessful.

So the bomb remains tucked away on the sea-bed, in an area which is frequently dredged by shrimp fishermen, any one of whom could suddenly find that they have netted something a touch larger and scarier than a crustacean.

How dangerous the bomb is after all these years is a matter of hot debate.
Right. So who will we blame and bomb when this thing finally goes off?


Steve Bates said...

"... they have netted something a touch larger and scarier than a crustacean."

Hmm. I thought the U.S. built the first nuclear weapons with the intention of creating crushed Asians...

If ever we were told the truth, I suspect we'd learn that there have been quite a few similar incidents over the decades. And if one of 'em ever does go off, you can bet your last dollar the government will refer to the event as an "accident" ...

Sorghum Crow said...

And don't forget about the bombs of Palomeres

ellroon said...

I won't crab about your amazing pun, but clam up, Steve! That shelly was one of your best!

And holy crap, Sorghum, I had no idea we tried to bomb Spain, too! (Thanks for the link btw.)