Arts, Culture & Media

Lost nuclear bomb in Greenland

During the Cold War, nuclear armed bombers continuously circled this base in Greenland, and they assumed if a war was coming the first thing is the Russians would knock out this base. But in January 1968, something went wrong. These men were two of the pilots that day and they said a fire started in the cockpit, and at that point four of the crew members ejected and then the airplane made a circle and then hit the ice. This pilot said he didn't know he was carrying a nuclear weapon. In the base, Danish contractors were watching the episode unfold and these Danish workers began to help in the cleanup. Eventually, half a million gallons of ice, some of it covered in radioactive debris was shipped back to the U.S., but it's now clear not everything was found, as claimed at the time�something had slipped below the ice. When the plane caught on fire the crew tried to land at the airbase but they didn't make it. It crashed in this bay, which during winter is thick with ice. What seemed to have happened is one of the nuclear bombs slipped through the ice and sank. The Pentagon always said all four bombs on board detonated in the crash, but that's not entirely true. Newly revealed documents under the Freedom of Information Act reveal a remarkable story: within weeks it became clear that the search teams couldn't find all the four weapons. A submarine was sent down, but as winter set in the search was abandoned. Many involved in the cleanup have experienced health complications, but the Danish government has always denied a link between the crash, the cleanup workers, and ill health.

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