Broken Arrow near British Columbia coast?
A ship of the Royal Canadian Navy will leave on a special mission. The personnel on board are tasked with the inspection and recovery of an atomic bomb which was lost on 13 February 1950 when a US long-range bomber dropped it off the coast of British Columbia, Canada.
For decades, speculation was rife about the fate of the bomb. The “Fat Boy” or “Fat Man”, as it is commonly known, refers to the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the last months of the Second World War.
The story of how it surfaced after more than 66 years involves a sports diver called Sean Smyrichinsky coming across the spectacular discovery during a routine dive at Banks Island off British Columbia. It measured about four metres long, and the diver returned to the dive boat believing that he had found a UFO. Later, he became curious when he learnt about the crash of the US long-range bomber in 1950 that took place just a short distance from where he was diving. After searching through Google and the photos in Wikipedia, Smyrichinsky concluded that he had discovered a Fat Boy and informed the military.
In a book about the Cold War, the Convair B34B had crashed just 50 kilometres from the dive site where the Fat Boy was found. The bomber was on a nighttime practice flight from an air force base in Alaska, with instructions to simulate a nuclear attack on San Francisco. However, when it was off the coast of British Columbia, three of its six R-4360-41 propeller engines caught fire. A decision was made to drop the bomb while they were still at sea. Twelve of the 17-men crew managed to parachute to safety before the plane crashed... The crash location was not confirmed, possibly due to the deliberate misinformation by the US military. A possible location is over the Pacific Ocean, just 50km from where the bomb was found. Another possibility is the mountainous area near the coast of British Columbia, just under 200km from the bomb's location. It would be years after the wreck had been found that the US military admitted to the loss of the aircraft and the atomic bomb.
It was years after the incident that the US military admitted to the loss of the aircraft and the atomic bomb. Whether or not it was an operational bomb is yet to be revealed.
The crash was the first confirmed accident involving nuclear weapons. Such incidents are categorised under the code name “Broken Arrow”. According to official US statistics, there have been more than 30 such incidents in the recent decades. However, specialists and independent analysts present a very different picture, one which involves hundreds of near-accidents or losses of nuclear weapons.
In 1958, there was another incident involving a bomber at the US eastern coast of Georgia off Savannah. It was carrying a 3.5-ton Mark 15 bomb. When the bomber collided with an F-86 combat aircraft during a secret exercise, the crew had to dump the bomb into the ocean before heading to an airport to make an emergency landing.