Dobson’s book follows the formerly classified events that took place in 1961 when four pilots ejected out of a B-52 aircraft carrying two thermonuclear bombs at 9,000 feet after the plane was struck multiple times by lightning and lost a wing. One pilot died, three others survived, and the two nuclear bombs fell at a velocity of 700 mph and crashed into Goldsboro, N.C.
The condition of the fail-safe mechanism on the bombs was unknown, and there was no guarantee that they could be deactivated. The destructive power of each bomb was large enough to create a 100% kill zone within a radius of eight miles. Twenty-two-year-old Lt. Jack ReVelle, a bomb disposal expert, was charged with the dangerous mission of deactivating the bombs.
Information about the event was