Georgia: Amateur Divers Find Long-Lost Nuclear Warhead

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Savannah| A couple of tourists from Canada made a surprising discovery while scuba diving  in Wassaw Sound, a small bay  located on the shores of Georgia. Jason Sutter and Christina Murray were admiring the marine life of the area when they stumbled upon a Mark 15 thermonuclear bomb that had been lost by the United States Air Force more than 50 years ago.

The couple from London in Ontario, was on a two week vacation in Georgia and Florida to practise their favorite hobby, scuba diving, when they decided to dive near  the shores of Tybee Island. While admiring the plants and fishes near the sea floor, they noticed a large cylindrical item partially covered by sand. They investigated the object and found out that it was actually a sort of bomb or missile, so they decided to contact the authorities.

“I noticed an object that looked like a metal cylinder, which I thought was an oil barrel” says Jason Sutter. “When I dug it up a bit, I noticed that it was actually a lot bigger and that there was some writing on the side. When I saw the inscription saying that it was a Mk-15 nuclear bomb, I totally freaked out. I caught Chritina by the arm and made signs to tell her we had to leave. We made an emergency ascent, went back to shore and then we called 911.”

The couple is still shocked after their frightening discovery and say they will avoid diving for the rest of their trip.

The couple is still shocked after their frightening discovery and say they will avoid diving for the rest of their trip.

Rapidly understanding the gravity of the situation, the 911 operator contacted every possible emergency service, including the coast guard and the military, leading to the deployment of more than 20 ships and 1500 men in the area. Using the GPS coordinates given by the couple, they rapidly located the powerful 3.8 megaton bomb.

An unmanned submarine was sent to determine the condition of the bomb, before explosive experts were sent to disarm it. Fortunately, the thermonuclear weapon produced in 1955 seemed in sufficiently good shape for a team of Navy seals  to try to defuse it. They successfully deactivated the warhead after hours of strenuous work, allowing the rest of the bomb to be moved.

The delicate recovery operation took more than 48 hours, but the bomb was finally recovered and transported Mayport Naval Station in Florida. A full set of tests and analysis will now be performed on the warhead to evaluate its actual state and the possible ecological and health hazard that its presence in the bay for 50 years could represent.

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Navy explosive ordnance Disposal technicians spent nearly five hours working on the warhead before they were able to extract the detonator and the uranium core of the weapon, allowing the fuselage to be moved.

The federal and state authorities were well-aware that a nuclear warhead had been lost in the area in the 1950’s and had never been recovered, but no efforts had been done for years to recover it. It was lost on the night of February 5, 1958, when a B-47 Stratojet bomber carrying the 7,600-pound hydrogen bomb on a  simulated combat mission off the coast of Georgia collided with an F-86 Saberjet fighter at 36,000 feet of altitude. The collision destroyed the fighter and severely damaged a wing of the bomber, leaving one of its engines partially dislodged.

The bomber’s pilot, Maj. Howard Richardson, was instructed by the Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. to jettison the H-bomb before attempting a landing. Richardson dropped the bomb into the shallow waters of Wassaw Sound, near the mouth of the Savannah River, where he believed the bomb would be swiftly recovered.  The crew did not see an explosion when the bomb struck the sea and they managed to land the B-47 safely at the nearest base.

For the following six weeks, the Air Force looked for the bomb without success. Underwater divers scoured the depths, troops tromped through nearby salt marshes, and a blimp hovered over the area attempting to spot a hole or crater in the beach or swamp. Researches were finally abandoned and the bomb remained hidden for more than 50 years until the unlucky couple stumbled upon it.

13 Comments on "Georgia: Amateur Divers Find Long-Lost Nuclear Warhead"

  1. Kudos to Jason Sutter and Christina Murray, Canadian tourists and their concerns. Must have been terrifying to find this deadly weapon. Will these heroes be honored?

    How many more? American military is turning the oceans of the world into a toxic soup. Whales and Dolphins are killed with low frequency sonar, thousands of sonobuoys are abandoned when their batteries die. Who gave the U. S. Navy the right to destroy our oceans? When the oceans die we die how can we accept this as defense?

    • How are they heroes? They found it, they didn’t disarm it with 15 seconds left on the timer… They did good, but people tend to toss the “hero” thing around too much these days. The Navy is not “destroying our oceans” either, quit crying, hippy pansy!

    • I feel much safer around nuclear weaponry than I do with Ayatollah Obama at the helm of our ship of state.

    • Sunny- you are showing your ignorance

    • Let us not blame the Navy or accuse them that they destroyed the ocean. They were doing what is right or what is the best. In other words the they are not idiots. Who are you to judge them? What did you contribute to our country?

    • Capt. Philip Topps | February 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm |

      Another example of the eco-freaks hyperventilating over an incident. The bomb was never an ecological risk. You scared-marys will use ANY excuse to foment fear in the uneducated/uninformed. Instead of lame fact-challenged statements like “destroying our oceans” why don’t you provide some FACTUAL evidence that this was the case. Answer:You CAN’T, because in all the years since the weapon was lost, there is not a shred of evidence that it caused ANY ecological damage. Had it done so, it would have been found YEARS ago. Grow up, you might make a decent adult, but, I doubt it.

    • Illini Warrior | February 28, 2015 at 12:42 am |

      The Canadians being honored by THIS USA gooberment? …. you kidding …. Obammy, Holder and Dishonor Inc will be charging them with illegal possession of a weapon …

    • They happened across this thing that had been laying peacefully on the bottom of the sea. That does not make them heroes. Concerning making the oceans a toxic soup, I think you may want to do a little more research on just which countries are actually dumping huge amounts of trash, including medical bio-hazard waste into them. Get a grip on your hysteria and find facts before finding fault. Thanks to all who pointed out the flaws in this person’s ill-advised post without resorting to name calling. To the rest, grow up.

    • Dave Meloche | March 2, 2015 at 10:13 pm |

      I agree with the reply Chris made, including the reference to big mouth Hippie that obviously never served in the US Military. I served on active duty in the Navy from 1956-62.

  2. Ain’t we all lucky, it was found by a couple of law abiding citizens and not by some religious freak with terror affiliations? I don’t be surprised if a Hollywood flick is made on this incident.

  3. I wonder how many other unexploded ordnance is out there in our oceans. Here in the Gulf they did bombing practice all the time. Time to go bomb hunting! Hey a new specialty! 🙂

  4. Me too, George!

  5. LMAO…

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