In 1964 a B-52 carrying two nuclear weapons broke apart in a storm and crashed about 100 miles from Washington D.C.

An excellent film called Buzz One Four produced by the grandson of the B-52 pilot documents this event in detail. You can watch the entire film on Amazon Prime.

I’m watching the film now, it’s very well done. Because the film was made by the grandson of the pilot, it does a great job of humanizing the story by providing an introduction to the people involved.

Here’s a YouTube trailer for the film Buzz One Four.

The B-52 was part of the Operation Chrome Dome procedure which kept nuclear armed B-52s in the air at all times, as a hedge against a possible first strike on their bases. Chrome Dome pilots routinely flew long circular missions which took them to the edge of Soviet airspace.

However, in this case the crew was flying a routine mission over the United States, simply relocating a plane from Massachusetts to it’s home base in Georgia.

As explained in the film, the Air Force required crews of these 20 hour long missions to take amphetamines to keep them alert, drugs with known side effects such as agitation, anxiety, paranoia etc.

Three crew members died in the crash, and two survived. There was no nuclear explosion or release of radiation.