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Lost: One Nuclear Weapon. No Reward

1 minute read
Amanda Bower

The Air Force has made it plain it does not want back its 7,600-lb. hydrogen bomb, missing off the Georgia coast since 1958. And it says the bomb–dropped when the B-47 carrying it was hit by an F-86 fighter during an exercise–poses no threat, since it does not contain the capsule required to detonate a nuclear explosion, and is unlikely to spread toxic material. The B-47’s pilot, retired Colonel Howard Richardson, supports that account; he tells TIME he did not personally inspect the bomb, but that he was briefed that the capsule was not on board. Others aren’t convinced. Retired Colonel Derek Duke, who sparked the recent investigation, claims the bomb was complete and should be located. He has formed a search-and-salvage operation, seeking a $1 million fee to find it in the shallow waters off Tybee Island, and assembled a band of advisers, which he describes as “like the famous TV A-Team.” The Air Force says it’s not interested.

–Reported by Mike Billips/Savannah

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