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

December 8, 1964 - Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana

DOD: SAC aircraft were taxiing during an exercise alert. As one B-58 reached a position directly behind the aircraft on the runway ahead of it, the aircraft ahead brought advanced power. As a result of the combination of the jet blast from the aircraft ahead, the icy runway surface conditions, and the power applied to the aircraft while attempting to turn onto the runway, control was lost and the aircraft slid off the left hand side of the taxiway. The left main landing gear passed over a flush mounted taxiway light fixture and 10 feet further along in its travel, grazed the left edge of a concrete light base. Ten feet further, the left main landing gear struck a  concrete electrical manhole box, and the aircraft caught on fire. When the aircraft came to rest, all three crew members aboard began abandoning the aircraft. The aircraft commander and defensive systems operator egressed with only minor injuries. The navigator ejected in his escape capsule, which impacted 548 feet from the aircraft. He did not survive. Portions of the five nuclear weapons on board burned; contamination was limited to the immediate area of the crash and was subsequently removed.

CDI: The B-58 supersonic bomber was operational from 1960-69 and 104 were built.


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