“Lost Nuke” Found off Haida Gwaii, Canada

Mark 4 Atomic bomb

Mark 4 Atomic bomb

A Canadian diver swimming off Pitt Island near the Haida Gwaii archipelago, on Canada’s west coast, was looking for sea cucumbers, but didn’t find any. Instead, the diver, Sean Smyrichinsky, found a dummy nuclear bomb lost in a plane crash in 1950. As told to the Vancouver Sun:

“I found this big thing underwater, huge, never seen anything like it before,” Smyrichinsky related from Cortes Island.

“I came up telling all my buddies on the boat ‘Hey, I found a UFO. It’s really bizarre.’ And I drew a picture of it, because I didn’t have a camera.”

A couple of days later he ran into some fishermen and told them about his discovery.

“Nobody had ever seen it before or heard of it, (because) nobody ever dives there,” he said. “Then some old-timer said ‘Oh, you might have found that bomb.’”

“That bomb” was a nuclear device that was dumped or exploded off the B.C. coast on Feb. 13, 1950, when an American B-36 bomber crashed while en route from Alaska to Texas. It was packed with lead – not plutonium – and TNT.

What was the bomber doing flying around with a dummy nuclear bomb? The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada picks up the story: In February 1950, during the early years of the Cold War, a U.S. B-36B bomber carrying an inactive Mark 4 atomic bomb left an air base in Alaska for a simulated drop on San Francisco. The bomb was blimp-like in its design – 3.25 meters long (10 feet) and 1.5 meters wide. It weighed 5 tons. The U.S. manufactured 550 of them between 1949 and 1953.

The bomber was caught in bad weather and its wings began to ice up. Three of its six engines caught on fire. The dummy nuke was dropped over the Pacific. The crew of seventeen parachuted over Princess Royal Island, off the Northern B.C. coast. Five men did not survive. The plane was set on autopilot and directed to crash into the Pacific. Instead it turned north and crashed near Mt. Kologet in the British Columbia’s Kispiox Valley.

The dummy nuke was lost until apparently being found by Sean Smyrichinsky. The Mark 4 atomic bomb was very similar to theMark 3, also known as “Fat Man” which was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki in 1945, killing an estimated 39,000–80,000 people.

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2 Responses to “Lost Nuke” Found off Haida Gwaii, Canada

  1. Erik Abranson says:

    What a story! The dummy bomb was not the only dummy around. Typical military SNAFU.
    I seem to remember there are a few very live nukes lost at sea and quietly corroding on the seabed.

  2. Phil says:

    Saw that yesterday, but it was never armed, so it really doesn’t matter much.
    Had it been armed, it would have blown up.
    There is still one off the Carolinas, somewhere.