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

March 10, 1956 - Mediterranean Sea

DOD: The aircraft was one of a flight of four scheduled for non-stop deployment from MacDill AFB to an overseas air base. Take-off from MacDill and first refueling were normal. The second refueling point was over the Mediterranean Sea. In preparation for this, the flight penetrated solid cloud formation to descend to the refueling level of 14,000 feet. Based of the clouds was 14,500 feet and visibilty was poor. The aircraft, carrying two nuclear capsules in carrying cases, never made contact with the tanker.
         An extensive search failed to locate any traces of the missing aircraft or crew. No weapons were aboard the aircraft, only two capsule of nuclear weapons material in carrying cases. A nuclear detonation was not possible.

CDI: This disappearance of the B-47, its crew, and nuclear weapons material was assumed to be an accident. The B-47 was America's first jet bomber and was operational from 1951-1965. Faster than its predecessors it lacked the range to reach the Soviet Union from the U.S. and thus bases were established in England and French Morocco in 1950-51. 2,060 B-47s were built.

The plane was assumed to have gone down southeast of Port Say, an Algerian coastal village near the Moroccan frontier, or just west of Oran to the northwest. French troops, and Spanish and British naval forces helped in the search for the plane but found no evidence of the aircraft, its weapons, nor its crew.

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