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Broken Arrow B-47


A U.S. Air Force B-47 'Stratojet' with two nuclear weapon cores aboard  


Total Persons on Board:

Three USAF officers:

  • Captain Robert H. Hodgin, 31, the aircraft commander

  • Captain Gordon M. Insley, 32, observer

  • 2nd It. Ronald L. Kurtz, 22, pilot


March 10th, 1956


Cold temperatures, poor visibility, and high, layered clouds

Flight Route:

From MacDill AFB, Florida, to an undisclosed overseas air base.  It was part of a four plane flight, set to refuel over the Mediterranean.

Area Believed Crashed:

Over/near the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of Port Say, an Algerian coastal village near the Moroccan frontier.  The bomber failed to meet its aerial refueling plane.

Reason for flight:

Transport for an oversea deployment

Type Plane:

A six-engined, Boeing designed, B-47 'Stratojet'

Search efforts: 

A French news agency report that the plane may have exploded in flight near Sebatna in eastern French Morocco.

The Air Force reported that the French position was roughly the same as the last report on the missing plane— about  90 miles southwest of Oran.   A later report said the plane went down southeast of Port Say, an Algerian coastal village near the Moroccan frontier. Planes and French troops were reposed to have searched the area but found no wreckage. 

Air Force official also said that ships from the Royal Navy abandoned their exercises in the Mediterranean and searched for wreckage of the plane, and troops in French and Spanish Morocco did likewise.

An exhaustive search failed to locate the aircraft, its weapons, nor its crew.


Anytime anything nuclear goes missing, it is a cause of international concern.

The two missing atomic cores are two of the 11 "Broken Arrows" — nuclear bombs lost during air or sea mishaps, according to U.S. military records.

The former Soviet regime also lost several nuclear weapons in similar accidents during the Cold War.


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