IT has been 50 years since the United States nearly caused a nuclear catastrophe which could have wiped out large parts of southern Spain – in a secret mission that has gone largely untold.
On January 17, 1966, an American B-52 dropped four nuclear bombs on Spain in an accident that risked handing Cold War victory to the Russians.
The warplane collided with a refuelling tanker during a secret mission over Europe.
Four B28 hydrogen bombs came loose in the crash and fell towards the small town of Palomares on the Mediterranean coast.
Seven airmen were killed in the collision but thankfully the nuclear agents failed to detonate and Spain was spared a nuclear disaster.
A Soviet official remarked: “Only a fortunate stroke of luck saved the Spanish population of the area from catastrophe.”
The first bomb had landed without an explosion or any radiation leak although the second and third were “substantially damaged upon impact”.
But it was the fourth which left US commanders baffled.
A desperate search and rescue operation ensued involving land and sea teams, who were rushing to beat the Russians to pick up the lost device, but it soon became clear that the bomb had landed somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Today, all that remains of the incident are signs on the quiet Spanish beach warning tourists not to enter the contaminated area.
Full article: REVEALED: How the US dropped a hydrogen bomb on Spain… and then Russia tried to steal it (Express)