Two hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina in January 1961 after a B52 bomber broke up in flight.

A newly published book says that a U.S. hydrogen bomb nearly detonated on the nation’s east coast, with a single switch averting a blast which would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that flattened Hiroshima.

Two hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina in January 1961 after a B52 bomber broke up in flight.

The Guardian newspaper said on Saturday that a recently declassified document, reported in a new book by Eric Schlosser, shows how close the U.S. came to a major catastrophe.

The document says just “one simple, low-voltage switch” which could easily have been shorted prevented “bad news n spades.”

The Guardian says Mr. Schlosser discovered the document through the Freedom of Information Act.

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