Now, as Paul Harvey use to say, "and now...the rest of the story".
From the Wiki entry:
"On March 11, 1958 a U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet from the Hunter Air Force Base's 308th Bombardment Wing in Savannah, Georgia took off around 4:34 p.m. It was scheduled to fly to the United Kingdom for Operation Snow Flurry. The plane was required to carry nuclear weapons in the event of war breaking out with the Soviet Union. Air Force Captain Bruce Kulka was the navigator and was summoned to the bomb bay area after the captain of the plane had encountered a fault light in the cockpit indicating that the bomb harness locking pin for the transatlantic flight did not engage. As Kulka was reaching around the bomb to pull himself up, he mistakenly grabbed the emergency release pin. The Mark 6 bomb dropped to the floor of the B-47 and the weight forced the bomb bay doors open sending the bomb 15,000 feet (4,572 m) down to the ground below.
|The Mark 6 Atomic Bomb|
There is more to the story than that! When the bomber crew realized that they just dropped an atomic bomb on the US, they immediately contacted Hunter AFB and gave them the coded message that they lost the bomb. As this code was never used before and was not something regularly trained on, Hunter AFB could not understand the message. So the bomber crew radio the local civilian airport at Florence, SC, and stated to for them to contact Hunter AFB and tell them the bomber has "lost their device." Also the the bomber crew instructed Florence airport to send every available emergency vehicle and to bomb site, without saying it was a bomb site! Also the Gregg's children had just left their tree house about 15 minutes or so earlier or they would have been the first Americans killed by an atomic bomb being dropped on the US!
|The bomb site|
For more detailed accounts go to here, here, here and here.
Anyway, I did go to visit the site and got with a couple hundred feet of the crater, but did not know exactly where it was to go out and walk up to it. But since then, I know where it is and an I am planning to revisit it later. But I did find the roadside marker for the event and have included the pictures of it here.