Goldsboro, NC Goldsboro B52 Bomber Crash, Jan 1961

Recovering the Goldsboro B52 Bomb, Jan 1961, photo from wikipedia.org


Goldsboro, N.C. (AP) -- A multimillion-dollar jet bomber carrying two unarmed nuclear weapons crashed near here early today. Three men were killed, and the other five crew members parachuted safely.

The Air Force said there was no danger of nuclear explosion or radiation.

One of the unidentified nuclear weapons was jettisoned before the crash and was parachuted safely. Th second was found in the wreckage of the huge eight-jet B52G of the Strategic Air Command which crashed about 15 miles north of Goldsboro.

The plane, stationed at nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, was returning for an emergency landing shortly after midnight after being airborne several hours. The pilot had radioed he was having fuel problems.

Lt. Col. Thomas Coleman, a public information officer, said "it looks like it broke up in the air and fell." Parts of the plane were scattered over a 1 1/2-mile area.

The pilot, Maj. WALTER F. TULLOCH, 45, of San Diego, Calif., made a dramatic appearance at dawn. He had been considered missing, but he walked from a swampy woodland area to a farmer's home to notify base authorities he had parachuted.

The bodies of two men were found in the wreckage of the nose section of the plane. The body of a third man was found later about two miles from the wreckage. The Air Force said the man was in a tree and that his parachute was opened. Cause of death was not known immediately and the Air Force said he could have been blown from the plane and his parachute opened automatically.

Marshal Suggs, a Negro tenant farmer, said the plane flew directly over his house. He said the plane "sounded like it was about half running. I think it had already had fallen when I heard an explosion that sounded like dynamite it was mighty loud. I live 2 1/2 miles away and it shook my house."

The first four survivors picked up were:
Lt. WILLIAM R. WILSON, 27, of Somerville, N.J.
Capt. RICHARD W. RARDIN, 33, of San Antonio, Texas.
Lt. A. C. ATTOCKS, 27, the third pilot, of Maysville, N.C.
Capt. PAUL E. BROWN, 37, of Beardstown, Illinois, the navigator.

Others on the plane were Maj. EUGENE SHELTON, 41, of San Antonio, Tex., radar navigator.
Maj. EUGENE RICHARDS, 42, Toccoa, Ga., electronics weapons officer.
T. Sgt. FRANCIS R. BARNISH, 35, of Greenfield, Mass.

Progress-Index Petersburg Virginia 1961-01-24

Photo: EOD personnel work to recover the buried Mk. 39 thermonuclear bomb that fell into a Faro, NC field in 1961. Photo from wikipedia.org