On January 23rd, 1961, the United States almost nuked itself by accident. On that day, according to a recently unclassified document obtained by The Guardian, the US Air Force mistakenly dropped a pair of hydrogen bombs over Goldsboro, North Carolina. The bombs each carried a 4-megaton payload and were about 260 times more powerful than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 during World War II, The Guardian says in a report.
In North Carolina, the two atomic bombs were released after a B-52 airplane carrying the payload went into a tailspin during a routine test flight — one of the bombs eventually landed in a tree, and the other in a meadow, The Guardian says. The document says the bombs should have detonated — parachutes were deployed and triggers were armed, but one low-voltage switch failed to activate as it should have, preventing what would have been devastating and widespread damage.