The Broken Arrow Project: Visualizing the Dangers of Maintaining the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

February 13, 1950 - British Columbia, Canada

DOD: The B-36 was enroute from Eielson AFB to Carswell AFB on a simulated combat profile mission. The weapon aboard the aircraft had a dummy capsule installed. After six hours of flight, the aircraft developed serious mechanical difficulties making it necessary to shut down three engines. The aircraft was at 12,000 feet altitude. Icing conditions complicated the emergency and level flight could not be maintained. The aircraft headed out over the Pacific Ocean and dropped the weapon from 8,000 feet. A bright flash occurred on impact, followed by a sound and shock wave. Only the weapon's high explosive material detonated. The aircraft was then flown over Princess Royal Island where the crew bailed out. The aircraft wreckage was later found on Vancouver Island.

CDI: Sixteen crewmen and one passenger parachuted safely and were rescued. An accompanying B-36 flew safely to Carswell Air Force Base. No mention is made of an attempt to recover the nuclear weapon and presumably it is still in the ocean. As early as 1950 nuclear weapons were carried to and from Alaska. The B-36 was operational from 1948-1959 and 325 were built.


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