Talk:1966 Palomares B-52 crash

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Carl Brashear[edit]

Why isn't Navy diver Carl Brashear mentioned in this article? This is where he injured his leg which resulted in his eventual loss of said limb.

Can you supply a reference for that, I would be inclined to think it was artistic license.Petebutt (talk) 15:41, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Um, it's there in the "Aftermath" section, and no, it was not artistic license. There is a ref for it. ````

October 2006[edit]

Where in Spain is Palomares? Dan100 (Talk) 10:02, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

According to the stub, Andalucia. Rich257 12:04, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Garash 06:52, 18 January 2007 (UTC)[...]"killing all but three of her crew. Survivors were Major Larry Messinger (pilot), Captain Charles Wendorf (aircraft commander), Michael Rooney (copilot) and Captain Ivan Buchanan (radar navigator).[1]"

All but three dead does not equal four survivors!

So, why didn't you just change the article? Pjbflynn 04:14, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

The title sucks[edit]

This is a silly title. All capital letters. The colloquial "H-Bomb". How about something more like "1966 Palomares hydrogen bomb accident" or something along those lines. -- 00:58, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

More Pictures?[edit]

The empty casings of two of the bombs are on display at the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have pictures I took on a visit there a few years back, and would be happy to add them if folks would like.Plumbob78 23:03, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

That would be fantastic. Thanks, --Asteriontalk 18:17, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Done. I put the information on the museum display under it's own heading. I aslo found an article to use as a reference, so the info wouldn't be OR, though the only reputable ones I could find in my search talked about the "fourth bomb" being in a museum. The museum has the casings of both bombs that didn't detonate, however. Plumbob78 20:11, 30 September 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Plumbob78 (talkcontribs)


It says that "two detonated on land near the small fishing village of Palomares,". I think two thermonuclear detonations would level a good deal of southern Spain. Should that be disintigrated? Kiwinanday (talk) 02:18, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

It says that the conventional explosives detonated, i.e. non-nuclear. I have edited to make this clearer. Pjbflynn (talk) 01:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

"The non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impacting the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 2-square-kilometer (490-acre) (0.78 square mile) area by radioactive plutonium." How can detonate the weapons non-nuclear explosives and do not detonate the nuclear ones? Vibria (talk) 16:23, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Implosion-type nuclear weapons require the precisely-timed (down to nanoseconds) detonation of shaped high explosives. While these high explosives may detonate in an accident like this one, they cannot trigger the nuclear chain-reaction, but would disperse the nuclear material they surround.Pjbflynn (talk) 22:07, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

"the conventional explosives from the other two bombs that fell on land detonated without setting off a nuclear explosion (akin to a dirty bomb explosion). This ignited the pyrophoric plutonium, producing a cloud that was dispersed by a 30-knot wind. A total of 260 ha (2 square kilometres (0.8 sq mi))" If the plutonium is pyrophoric, may be conventional explosives not detonated, could be when the bombs fell and left the plutonium, or part, and when come in contact with air it burned. Some thermonuclear weapons use lithium deuteride as fuel and — like metal hydrides or nonmetal hydrides (germane, diborane, sodium hydride, lithium aluminium hydride, uranium trihydride— it seems a pyrophoric material also. The explosion could come from nuclear fuels, not a nuclear explosion, but a chemical, by coming in contact with air or water, and not from conventional explosives. Vibria (talk) 21:53, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but in this case it does seem that the chemical explosives detonated first. Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty | Averted crashes 13:08, 19 May 2012 (UTC)


Quoting: "Four days after the accident, the Spanish government stated that "the Palomares incident was evidence of the dangers created by [NATO's] use of the Gibraltar airstrip", Was this a serious comment? Surely if either a laden B-52 or KC-135 had tried to take off from Gib, it would have just nosed into the sea a few yards from the end of the (5000') runway?. (talk) 10:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Laden or not, a B-52 would not have operated from a 5,000' runway. Fighters and lighter bombers carried nukes as well, so the comment was probably related to their operation. Shawn D. (talk) 17:25, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
IIRC, both nuclear-armed Shackletons and Buccaneers were operated from Gibraltar, the former carrying nuclear depth bombs, the latter carrying tactical Red Beards, although this would all have been secret at the time. The airfield would have been RAF Gibraltar. IIARC, larger aircraft such as the Vulcan could have got into Gib, but the runway wasn't long enough to fly out again afterwards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:17, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Recent Events[edit]

Today (April 10th 2008) Spanish press has more news on this subject. The CIEMAT, which is in charge of investigating the site for contaminated remains, has found two trenches dug out in 1.966 which contain contaminated earth. Since the U.S. government agreed in 2006 to pay for the cleaning expenses, they are expected to take care of the removal and transportaion expenses.

I've added this information to the "Recent Events" section, but since I'm useless when it comes to major editing, I've left out the source. Here it is: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:04, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Thoughts on additions[edit]

This article seems to do a good job of covering the accident and the long-term consequences. What I'd say it probably still needs is some coverage of the immediate responses of the U.S. and Spanish governments to the incident (and possibly the Warsaw pact), as well as press coverage and the public response. A few of the details of the decontamination procedure might also be of interest. Thank you.—RJH (talk) 14:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


The article implys that the bombs were to be flown from North Carolina, across the atlantic, over europe, past russia, and "back home". So what exactly was the point of the mission? TheHYPO (talk) 01:49, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Within the historical framework of the Cold War, the constant readiness of nuclear weapons was a form of deterrence. See also Mutual assured destruction. Pjbflynn (talk) 23:28, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
See Operation Chrome Dome Socrates2008 (Talk) 05:23, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

I suggest that this article be renamed in accordance with WikiProject Aviation's naming standards to "1966 Palomares B-52 crash". Socrates2008 (Talk) 05:23, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Support. That would be in keeping with the other articles under Category:Military nuclear incidents.—RJH (talk) 18:01, 23 November 2008 (UTC)


in the article there is a questionmark about when the bobo's swam there for publicity reasons, i actually wonder if it is not fairer to point out that swimming there proofs exactly nothing. It doesn't even matter when after the accident, in fact it is more dangerous to swim there now then shortly after the accident probably (radioactive dust may have reached the sea). The breathing might still have been slightly dangerous tho. What would have proven something if they had taken their diet from palomares for even a month, the place is probably more radioactive then hiroshima, and the contaminants more dangerous, i suspect it were still better to turn it into a ghosttown. (talk) 05:07, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Be that as it may, the article exists to document the actual events, not speculation on their significance. Pjbflynn (talk) 02:39, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
This 2002 report indicates there was no significant exposure among the residents. I'd be interested to find out if there were any studies made of livestock in the area, since they would tend to concentrate the radioactive materials that made it into the food supply.—RJH (talk) 17:10, 18 December 2009 (UTC)


I was stationed at moron air base at the time this happened.i was a fireman.and told to take a water tanker to the crash site.we spent many hours spraying water on hot spots, i can recall spraying homes in the villiage.i wonder about the health of all thoes exposed to the radiation,all we wore was surgical mask.when i left the site they took my docimeter and i never heard from them.i was discharged in december of 1966.would like to hear from anyone that was there at that time,especially about your health.saltcreek1 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

U.S.S. Cascade AD-16 I was stationed onboard the destroyer repair ship U.S.S. Cascade when she was sent to the crash site. We stayed there without going ashore for 76 days. I remember talking with the men who were diving for the bomb. I remember getting mail and supplies by helicopter and I remember the dictator of Spain sailing by in his personal yacht with three Spanish war ships around him. We had a raffle to send one man from each division ashore in Naples. The U.S.S. Cascade took the bomb back to America. I didn't see it personally because there was an armed guard stationed in the area where it was kept. I was released from active duty on November 7, 1966 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 8 September 2010 (UTC)


I do not have this information firsthand, but I understand from some English people living in Mojácar that the road from Mojácar to Carbonares was constructed by the US (by a large contingent of GIS) because this was necessary to recover the nuclear materials. If true, this could add to this posting. Such information may well be available to US residents under the Freedom of Information Act. (talk) 05:33, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Spanish atomic bomb[edit]

La dehesa nuclear:

Una infeliz coincidencia, el accidente de Palomares, forzará una paradójica carambola, entre la chatarra nuclear de las bombas de hidrógeno, los técnicos españoles encontrarán los detonadores necesarios.

--Error (talk) 23:09, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 13:25, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I have replaced that cite which was a bad one to begin with because it was some third hand hearsay that someone reported that a newspaper had printed that an article elsewhere had said that... After much searching I could not find the newspaper article or the original article so the whole cite reference seems dubious and unreliable. On the other hand I easily found other cites so I have replaced the cite. GS3 (talk) 15:26, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Dead link 2[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 13:25, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Location, travel direction, map[edit]

The article does not make clear whether the B52 was on the outward leg travelling east or on the return leg, travelling west. The map shows the refuelling areas were over sea but the article says they refuelled over land and, in fact, the collision happened over land with the wreckage and bombs falling to land and only one bomb was carried by the wind out to sea because its parachute deployed. This seems to show the map is in error. GS3 (talk) 15:42, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Epidemiological studies[edit]

I notice that epidemiological studies are referred to in the Spanish article on this subject, albeit without references. i would be very interested to know if anyone can find references for such studies. I have searched on PubMed but without any luck.Jimjamjak (talk) 14:03, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Not neutral article[edit]

El americans es varen cobrir de glòria perdent una bomba termonuclear sobre la darrera dictadura feixista d'Europa. Potser alguns dels que hi varem estar exposats a l'explosió d'aquest artefacte nuclear no hi teníem res a veure amb el feixisme. (Catalan) (talk) 18:54, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

The conviction of the Tribunal de Orden Público against dª Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, this shows that made francoist repression. This file, it self, is a secondary source because it comes from TLN an Internet site in memoriam of the francoism victims. Might be Ms Isabel Álvarez de Toledo was not the people who was the worse victim of the francoist, but was one

Without this file the article seems to be not neutral. Vibria (talk) 12:39, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Francoist propaganda film YouTube (Spanish)

Political consequences in Spain, an inconvenient truth[edit]

Indoors in Spain for censorship this incident has been the subject of disinformation operations [1] [2], together with Franco propaganda of that time tried to hide important facts. Isabel Alvarez de Toledo, Duchess of Medina-Sidonia, who investigated these facts were pursued by the Francoist authorities.[3] Even the Minister of Information and Tourism of the Government of Franco, Manuel Fraga Iribarne was a time later in Palomares to take a bath there, with the ambassador of the United States, in order to silence rumors according to which water had been contaminated. This was photographed and filmed and shown repeatedly to Spain as evidence of normality. [2] [4]

Name in Spain[edit]

"Orts was contacted by the U.S. Air Force to assist in the search operation. The United States Navy assembled the following ships in response to Air Force request for assistance:[12]"

People's name in Spain, personal name, includes the given name and two surnames or family names, the father family name and the mother family name, first and second family names. In 1966 the given name was always in castilian —most often called spanish language— due to francoism civil laws, and near nonexistent in 1928, Francisco Simó Orts date of birth, because the Primo de Rivera dictatoship. The given name of Francisco Simo Orts, according all sources, and acording above, was Francisco. Simó can be a catalan given name, but in the francoist dictatorship names in catalan was forbbiden, and in the Primo de Rivera dictatorship near nonexistent, due the anticatalanism of the governement, then Simó is a catalan surname, the father family name of Francisco Simó Orts. Then Orts is the second family name, the mother family name, a catalan family name, at least in its origin. In Spain people are refered as their first surname, the father family name, or as their two family names, for example, "señor Simó", that means "Mister Simó", or "señor Simó Orts", that means "Mister Simó Orts", or as "don Francisco Simó Orts", that means "Mister Francisco Simó Orts". It is odd mention only the second family name of a people in Spain, and only they do when a best known person (For example a prime minister) has a very common first family name. For example, the previous prime minister in Spain was José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero: given name: José Luis (a compound name), first family name: Rodríguez, and second family name: Zapatero, but in the news, for example, he is mentioned as Zapatero, his second family name, because the first is very common in Spain (as all family names with a final "z", as Pérez, González, Sánchez, and Rodriguez etc. because this father, or mother, family names derive from a medieval given name: Pero (or Pedro, english: Peter), Gonzalo, Sancho, or Rodrigo)now days became fixed as a family name. This system was very common in the middle age, for example: the Ximena dinasty in Aragon (925-1162) with an final "s" (instead of "z", because in castillan language very often is confused "s" and "z"): (925-970) Garcia Sanxes I of Pamplona, husband of Andregot Galindes, king of Navarra (note all family names are with a final "s"), had a son: (970-994) Sanç Garcés II of Pamplona, son of the previous, king of Navarra. Note the son given name was his grandfather name: Sanç, and his family name was Garcés from Garcia, the father given name. Simó might be a father family medieval name in the catalan system of surname, they give the only given name of the father to the son as surname, without "s" or "z" termination. (i.e, counts of Barcelona: Borrell II (948-992) and his son Ramon Borrell (992-1018), and the grandson Berenguer Ramon I.) Then is not correct mention Francisco Simó Orts as Orts, it is more correct say Francisco Simó or Simo Orts as a more correct form, or Simó but not Orts because it may refer to a person whom first family name was Orts, but not Simó.[5] Nowadays the family can state, according the civil laws, if they want the first name of their sons must be the father family name, or the mother family name. [6]


  1. ^ Prologue to work by Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, Palomares (Memoria), Madrid, UNED, 2001. Retrieved 2012-01-06. (Spanish)
  2. ^ a b GUITART BAS, Raimon. Toxics, Verins, Drogues i Contaminants. Viure i morir segons la toxicologia: v. 3, p. 28. Manuals Farmacologia. Bellaterra: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Servei de Publicacions 2009. Manuals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; 53. ISBN 978-84-490-2587-7. Retrieved 2012-01-01. (Catalan)
  3. ^ The conviction of the Tribunal de Orden Público against dª Isabel Álvarez de Toledo. Todos (...) los nombres Retreived 2012-01-01.
  4. ^ Francoist propaganda film. YouTube. Retreived 2012-01-01. (Spanish) Transcript what announcer says in the film: «Como parte del programa previsto y para demostrar con el ejemplo que no existe peligro de radioactividad en esta zona costera el ministro señor Fraga Iribarne, el embajador de Estados Unidos y el jefe de la región aérea del estrecho se dan un buen baño, pues así lo permite la benignidad del clima a pesar del invierno. El embajador demuestra con los brazos abiertos que se está bien en estas aguas inofensivas. Y hecha esta elocuente demostración el ministro y el embajador nos dicen adiós al salir del agua.»
  5. ^ (Spanish) News about Francisco Simó Orts in El País
  6. ^ change of surnames in Navarra
This article from Spanish Wikipedia may shed some light about the text above: Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo Socrates2008 (Talk) 09:06, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Nobody is disputing (that I'm aware of) that there was a public relations campaign on the part of the United States and the Franco government to reassure residents of their safety. It appears to me that you wish to give this, particularly the Spanish government's efforts, an inappropriately high prominence in the article. Can you explain why the Franco regime's response (nobody here is likely to argue that they were especially nice or honest) deserves extensive discussion in this article, which is really about an American screw-up? It appears to me that your main intention is to publish your conclusions on a Spanish government conspiracy, rather than appropriately-sourced information that is of direct relevance to the article. Acroterion (talk) 14:32, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

No, there were not a conspiracy in the time of the bomb of Palomaes. The francoist conspiracy is from 1936 till 1978, at least. 1966 is only one year in that period. Vibria (talk) 19:51, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Even now, january 2012, there is an underground francoist conspiracy against judge Baltasar Garzón due to his investigation on francoism crimes. Vibria (talk) 22:06, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved Mike Cline (talk) 14:29, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

1966 Palomares B-52 crash1966 Palomares mid-air collision – The accident did not only involve the B-52. There seems to also have been a big part played by a KC-135. Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty | Averted crashes 13:13, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. I suggest Palomares incident or leaving it where it is. --John (talk) 13:33, 19 May 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The Collision[edit]

The article seems very vague when it comes to the collision itself. The B-52 captain appears to blame the boom operator for not waving him off; the article itself implies that he was going too fast; the boom operator is of course dead; there's nothing about a court of enquiry or any investigation into the crash itself. What caused it? Pilot error, mechanical failure, operational inadequacies, bad luck, poor weather? -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 17:43, 19 May 2015 (UTC)