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America's Lost H-Bomb

Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
During a military training mishap in 1958, a Mark 15, Mod Zero nuclear weapon was lost a few miles from the shores of Tybee Island, Georgia. The bomb was twelve feet long and weighing 7,600 pounds. It’s a big bomb, but it was never found. After studying the flight path of the plane that dropped the bomb, weather conditions of the night of the accident and tidal patterns of the last 50 years, a multi agency task force searched the shoals...February 5, 1958 – the height of the Cold War. Air Force Col. Howard Richardson pilots his B-47 Stratojet bomber on a training mission in which Reston, Virginia doubles as Moscow – which Richardson is to level, in simulated fashion, with the bomb on board. F-86 Sabre jets scramble to intercept the B-47, but they’re too late and Richardson hits his virtual target. Next Richardson races toward the South Carolina border – friendly airspace in the exercise – still trying to elude the fighter jets on his tail. ..Over South Carolina, an F-86 suddenly emerges from cloud cover and slams into the B-47. Col. Richardson flies out over the ocean and radios for permission to jettison the bomb. Just before 3am, about 7,000 feet over the water near Tybee Island, Richardson orders the hatch opened – and thermonuclear bomb Number 47782 drops silently into the darkness. The crew reports seeing no explosion. Richardson lands safely – wondering if the bomb did the same...The day after the accident, a massive search begins, led by Navy Lt. Cdr. Art Arseneault. Military personnel and civilian experts use hand-held sonar, magnetometers, sonar – even dragging nets and grappling hooks along the muddy shallows. Navy warships and Air Force jets provide security. For three months, they search for any sign of the bomb – yet find nothing. The Pentagon lists number 47782 as "irretrievably lost."Amazingly, it’s only one of 11 nuclear bombs the US cannot find at the time. These missing weapons are labeled "Broken Arrows.”..A 2001 Air Force report estimates that, if the bomb were ever found, it would take five years and 11 million dollars to recover it. In 2004, the government sent a 20-person team to collect water and sand samples, and countless instrument readings from the sound. The data were sent to federal laboratories for analysis, but the results were inconclusive. The bomb is still there, but no one is sure where, and in what state.
Release Date
2007
Run Time
89 min.
Language
In English
Notes
  • Title from title frames.
  • In Process Record.
  • Playlist
Published
Longtail Distribution Network, 2007.
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2017.
Recording Info
Originally produced by Longtail Distribution Network in 2007.
Publisher no.
1352710 Kanopy
Related Resources
Cover Image
Description
1 online resource (streaming video file) (89 minutes): digital, .flv file, sound
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Technical Details
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    a| During a military training mishap in 1958, a Mark 15, Mod Zero nuclear weapon was lost a few miles from the shores of Tybee Island, Georgia. The bomb was twelve feet long and weighing 7,600 pounds. It’s a big bomb, but it was never found. After studying the flight path of the plane that dropped the bomb, weather conditions of the night of the accident and tidal patterns of the last 50 years, a multi agency task force searched the shoals...February 5, 1958 – the height of the Cold War. Air Force Col. Howard Richardson pilots his B-47 Stratojet bomber on a training mission in which Reston, Virginia doubles as Moscow – which Richardson is to level, in simulated fashion, with the bomb on board. F-86 Sabre jets scramble to intercept the B-47, but they’re too late and Richardson hits his virtual target. Next Richardson races toward the South Carolina border – friendly airspace in the exercise – still trying to elude the fighter jets on his tail. ..Over South Carolina, an F-86 suddenly emerges from cloud cover and slams into the B-47. Col. Richardson flies out over the ocean and radios for permission to jettison the bomb. Just before 3am, about 7,000 feet over the water near Tybee Island, Richardson orders the hatch opened – and thermonuclear bomb Number 47782 drops silently into the darkness. The crew reports seeing no explosion. Richardson lands safely – wondering if the bomb did the same...The day after the accident, a massive search begins, led by Navy Lt. Cdr. Art Arseneault. Military personnel and civilian experts use hand-held sonar, magnetometers, sonar – even dragging nets and grappling hooks along the muddy shallows. Navy warships and Air Force jets provide security. For three months, they search for any sign of the bomb – yet find nothing. The Pentagon lists number 47782 as "irretrievably lost."Amazingly, it’s only one of 11 nuclear bombs the US cannot find at the time. These missing weapons are labeled "Broken Arrows.”..A 2001 Air Force report estimates that, if the bomb were ever found, it would take five years and 11 million dollars to recover it. In 2004, the government sent a 20-person team to collect water and sand samples, and countless instrument readings from the sound. The data were sent to federal laboratories for analysis, but the results were inconclusive. The bomb is still there, but no one is sure where, and in what state.
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