Tybee Bomb

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The 1958 Tybee Island B-47 crash was an incident on February 5, 1958 in which the United States Air Force lost a 7,600 pound (3,500 kg) Mark 15 hydrogen bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, USA. The bomb was jettisoned to save the aircrew during a practice exercise after the B-47 bomber carrying it collided in midair with an F-86 fighter plane. Following several unsuccessful searches, it was presumed lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island. GeorgiaThe B-47 bomber was on a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. It was carrying a single 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) bomb. At about 2:00 AM, the B-47 collided with an F-86. The F-86 crashed after the pilot ejected from the plane, but the B-47, despite being damaged, remained barely airworthy enough to fly. The crew requested permission to jettison the bomb in order to reduce weight and prevent the bomb exploding during an emergency landing. Permission was granted and the bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 feet (2,200 m) while traveling about 200 knots (370 km/h). The crew did not see an explosion when the bomb impacted the sea. They managed to land the B-47 safely at Hunter Army Air Field. The pilot, Colonel Howard Richardson, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after this incident for his role in piloting the B-47. Starting on February 6, 1958, the Air Force 2700th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron and 100 Navy personnel equipped with hand held sonar and galvanic drag and cable sweeps mounted a search. On April 16, 1958 the military announced that the search efforts had been unsuccessful. Based upon a hydrologic survey, the bomb was thought[who?] to lie buried under 5 to 15 feet (2 to 5 m) of silt at the bottom of Wassaw Sound. In 2004, retired Air Force Colonel Derek Duke incorrectly claimed to have found the possible resting spot of the bomb. He and his partner located the spot by trawling the area in their boat with a Geiger counter in tow. The Air Force released its report in June 2005, which stated that high radiation measurements are from naturally occurring radioactive materials, and that the location of the bomb is still unknown. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

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