Just before midnight on February 13, 1950, three engines of a US Air Force B-36 intercontinental bomber caught fire over Canada's northwest coast. The crew jumped, and the plane ditched somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The fact that the huge aircraft had been carrying a Mark IV nuclear bomb was kept carefully hidden. Three years later, the wreck of the bomber was found by accident in a remote location in the coastal mountains of British Columbia, three hours' flying time in the opposite direction of where it was supposed to have crashed. How did it get there? Did somebody remain on board and fly it there?
Only after years of silence did the United States finally admit to losing a nuclear bomb; the incident was the first ever "Broken Arrow," as accidents involving nuclear weapons have come to be known. But was the bomb dropped and exploded over the Inside Passage or was it blown up at the aircraft's resting place in the mountains?
This Cold War-era tale borders on fantasy as Dirk Septer follows the last flight of Bomber 075 and attempts to unravel the real story behind more than 50 years of secrecy, misdirection and misinformation.
About the author
Dirk Septer is an aviation historian and photographer who focuses on the West Coast and Canadian Arctic. He was the lead investigator in the television documentary Lost Nuke, which first aired on the Discovery Channel in 2004, and has continued to research the story. Dirk has published over 100 articles in aviation magazines in Canada and the UK and for years wrote a regular column called "North of Sixty" in Canadian Aviator. He was born and raised in the Netherlands. After serving in the Royal Netherlands Air Force, he moved to Canada in 1973. Dirk lives on Cortes Island in British Columbia.