U.S. narrowly avoided nuclear bomb explosion in 1961: report

The United States narrowly escaped a nuclear bomb explosion in North Carolina in 1961, The Guardian reported Friday in its online edition, citing a declassified U.S. document.

A declassified secret document reveals that the U.S. Air Force "came dramatically close to detonating an atomic bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima" in August 1945, the British daily said.

Two hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on Jan. 23, 1961, the paper said.

"The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in midair, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage," it added.

While the accident itself has been known to the public, The Guardian said the document "gives the first conclusive evidence that the U.S. was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions."