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Nuclear Bombs Almost Exploded Over North Carolina in 1961: Hydrogen Bomb Activated in Air Mishap

Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON — A nuclear bomb nearly exploded in 1961 over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima, according to a declassified document published in a British newspaper on Friday.

The Guardian newspaper said the document, obtained by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gave the first conclusive evidence that the United States came close to a disaster in January 1961.

The incident happened when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, N.C., after a B-52 bomber broke up in midair.

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