WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Government experts are investigating a claim that an unarmed nuclear bomb, lost off the Georgia coast at the height of the Cold
War, might have been found, an Air Force spokesman said Monday.
The hydrogen bomb was lost in the Atlantic Ocean in 1958 following a collision of a B-47 bomber and an F-86 fighter.
A group led by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Duke of Statesboro, Georgia, said in July that it had found a large object underwater near Savannah
that was emitting high levels of radioactivity, according to an Associated Press report.
An Air Force investigation concluded in 2001 that the bomb is probably harmless if left where it is. It also said a recovery operation could set off
the conventional explosives in the bomb that would put the recovery crew at risk and do serious environmental damage.
The 7,600-pound, 12-foot-long thermonuclear bomb contained 400 pounds of high explosives as well as uranium.
The Air Force insists the bomb was being used for practice and did not contain the plutonium trigger needed for a nuclear explosion.
The accident took place the morning of February 5, 1958, over the coast of Georgia.
According to the 2001 Air Force investigation, a B-47 carrying a Mark 15, Mod 0, nuclear bomb on a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force
Base in Florida collided with an F-86.
The pilot of the F-86 bailed out safely and his plane crashed. The B-47 was damaged but flyable.
The B-47 crew tried landing three times at Hunter Air Force Base in Georgia with the nuclear weapon onboard.
But because of the damage and the risk that the conventional explosives could be detonated, the crew was granted permission to jettison the nuclear
bomb into the Atlantic Ocean off Savannah.
The bomb was dropped from an altitude of about 7,200 feet at an air speed of about 200 knots. The B-47 crew did not see an explosion when the bomb hit
the ocean. The plane later landed safely at Hunter.
Wassaw Sound was the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics yachting competition.
The Air Force investigation in 2001 estimated that the bomb landed nose first in the seabed and is now buried in 5 to 15 feet of mud.
Iwonder how many of them are still lost (especially russian ones), let's hope some terrorist organization will not try to find them.