The 1966 Palomares B-52 crash, also called the Palomares incident, occurred on 17 January 1966, when a B-52G bomber of the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command collided with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air refueling at 31,000 feet (9,450 m) over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Spain. The KC-135 was destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four crew members. The B-52G broke apart, killing three of the seven crew members aboard.
|Date||17 January 1966|
|Site||Mediterranean Sea near Palomares, Almería |
|Operator||Strategic Air Command, United States Air Force|
|Flight origin||Seymour Johnson Air Force Base|
North Carolina, United States
|Destination||Seymour Johnson Air Force Base|
|Operator||United States Air Force|
|Flight origin||Morón Air Base, Spain|
|Destination||Morón Air Base|
At the time of the accident, the B-52G was carrying four B28FI Mod 2 Y1 thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs, all of which fell to the surface. Three were found on land near the small fishing village of Palomares in the municipality of Cuevas del Almanzora, Almería, Spain. The non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impact with the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 0.77-square-mile (2 km2) area with radioactive plutonium. The fourth, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact after a search lasting two and a half months.