On 23rd January 1961, a United States (U.S.) bomber broke apart mid-air above the town of Goldsboro, North Carolina, in the U.S. The aircraft plummeted to the ground, and so did the missiles which lay within. These missiles were armed to explode; however, one of the four dynamo switches on the missile stayed intact, preventing an explosion. These missiles were atomic bombs with the yield about two hundred and fifty times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

A later declassified report claimed that should the switch have failed, the face of eastern North Carolina would have been wiped off the map, further stating that: “one simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe.” …

Rohit Deshpande

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