Lead: In January 1966, at the height of the Cold War, an armed U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed during a routine refueling over the Mediterranean coast of Spain. In the process, it lost a hydrogen bomb.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The giant B-52 was part of the Strategic Air Command’s regular flights to the edge of Soviet air space. Fully loaded, it held four H-bombs, each 100 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. To make such a long trip from the continental United States required refueling, and as it approached the KC-135 jet tanker on January 17, 1966, the bomber accidentally rammed the refueling boom, destroying both planes. Aircraft parts and radioactive debris rained down on the Spanish countryside. Three bombs were recovered, but the United States had to endure the embarrassment that a fourth went missing. It had lost a nuclear bomb somewhere over Spain.


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